Bringing vision to Mexico

16/07 2019 - Stores

Bringing vision to Mexico

This is Emilia. As Emilia reached the final year of her 3-year optometry course, at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, she didn’t hesitate to apply for the opportunity to support the charity, Vision For All.  Together with three other students, one optician, and two other volunteers from Sweden, Emilia travelled to Mexico, where she saw first hand how a pair of glasses could change a person’s whole life – enabling them to work, go to school, or take care of their family. 

Vision For All is a Swedish non-profit organisation that seeks collaborations with optometrists and opticians in Sweden and around the world, to help people in developing countries receive the eye care they desperately need.  

Ahead of the trip, Emilia asked the Specsavers store in Visby, where she had worked as an intern, to support the initiative by donating old pairs of glasses supplied by the local community, as well as small items for children like hats, to help protect their eyes from the sun.  

When Emilia arrived in Mexico, the hard work commenced – she would wake up early every morning and load several pick-up trucks. Each vehicle carried 30 banana boxes, containing 250 pairs of glasses each. Once loaded, the team travelled to churches in small villages around the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas, where one optician and four students carried out eye examinations. On arrival, the group often found the locals had been waiting from as early as 04:00 for the opportunity for an eye examination. With help from interpreters, the team delivered all eye checks in Spanish. Emilia and the team discovered that a high number of the local people had never owned a pair of glasses, and many were affected by the glare from the sun. Many suffered from pterygium, diabetes or high blood pressure.

The local communities she visited served as an extreme example. During ten days of work, the team treated a record high number of people; 556 people in one day and 946 glasses given. In total, they performed 3792 sight tests and gave away 6479 pairs of glasses! 

A truly emotional experience, Emilia says she observed how the local people couldn’t afford to get any help from opticians or ophthalmologists: “People are so glad for us helping them, and I’m delighted that Specsavers wanted to support the project. This will be a memory for the rest of my life.”

Since the experience, Emilia has graduated from her optometry course and now works as an optician at the Specsavers store in Visby, where she applies her skills to help the local community maintain good eye health. 

We are really proud of our dedicated and passionate people who will travel the world to spread the word about accessible eye health. Well done Emilia and all the teams who supported such a great cause!

Want to join an organisation on a mission to help as many people as possible receive accessible eye care? Visit our vacancies page and see if there’s a job or career opportunity for you.

Remember, you can donate your old glasses at any Specsavers store! Find your nearest store.


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