Optical dispensing students from RMIT University in Melbourne helped bring better sight to children living in a Vietnamese orphanage, as part of an international study tour.
The seven Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing students and a photography student recently travelled with teacher Jade Cusworth to hospitals, medical centres and an orphanage in Long Hải.
A particular highlight was providing optical dispensing services to children living at the Centre for Social Protection of Children.
“I am so proud of what we achieved and what an impact the students were able to make,” Cusworth said.
“We screened and tested the eyes of 122 children in one day – it makes such a difference giving them glasses.
“One little boy had never had his eyes tested before, and it turned out he was a +12 and +16, which is extremely far-sighted, we’re talking ‘coke bottle’ glasses.
“When they put a trial frame on him, he was just waving his hands in front of himself and touching things around him – even his best friend’s face, which he was seeing properly for the first time.
“By this stage we were all in tears – it was just amazing.”
During their study tour the students visited the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, which receives more than 2000 patients a day, to help with optical dispensing.
Photo: Huy, at the Centre for Social Protection of Children, sees properly for the first time thanks to the work of RMIT students
“This was an invaluable opportunity for the students to put into practice the skills they have learnt throughout the year,” Cusworth said.
Students also visited the American Eye Centre, which caters to expats and foreigners, and the Hoya Lab, which has 1000 employees and manufactures about 2000 lenses a day.
Cusworth and many of the students would like to return next year to check-up on the eye health of their young patients.
“It’s a beautiful country, with lovely and hard-working people,” Cusworth said.
“It was great to get a group of Vocational Education students at a Certificate IV level, so that they could see the kind of impact that they can have.”
Photo: Students from RMIT University’s Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing program, with staff of the host hospital.
My Huong Le, who runs the orphanage, thanked RMIT University’s optometry staff and students.
“I was impressed by the positive attitude of the students towards all they did,” she said.
“They worked well with the Vietnamese eye doctors and were quick to assist in any way possible.
“I hope that we can partner with RMIT in the future in having a student group come yearly to provide this service. Thank you again for your support.”
Story: Ash Hibbert, RMIT University