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Speaker Meeting 9th November 2020: Vision Aid Overseas – Ruth Davies

Ruth started her presentation telling us about the history of  Vision Aid Overseas.  It was founded in 1985 and the first country to benefit was Tanzania.

It has now, for over 30 years, been helping some of the world’s poorest people in African countries to see clearly.  Interestingly most people in these countries need glasses from the age of 30 where as in the UK they need them from the age of 40.

Ruth told us that the spectacles we donate are of a very high quality. They are washed, prepared and sent to the countries needing them.

On a practical note it is important that children who require glasses get them early or they fall behind with their work.  Volunteers (4-6) go to the country where they are needed for two weeks at a time and they contribute to the cost.  They set up optical workshops to enable prescriptions for glasses to be made locally.  They work with students who are on a “Practical and Theory” Optometry Course. In week one they have tutorials and group work and then in week two they go out into the community.  We were shown slides of students being taught and practicing their skills. They also train teachers to identify children who have difficulty seeing.  Children are tested on an annual basis using a special eye testing chart and if glasses are needed trained optometrists will arrange to get them locally.


Ruth also showed us slides of the area she had visited and the amazing wild life.