The graduation of Nicaragua’s first optometrists in June was a proud day for the students and their families - and a momentous one for future of eye care in Nicaragua. (Watch Video).
It means there are now 20 new, locally trained optometrists who can provide sustainable vision care services to the estimated 1 million people (or 17% of the entire population) who are needlessly vision impaired - many of whom are children.
Optometry Giving Sight is pleased to be a key partner in this project, along with VOSH International, Brien Holden Vision Institute and the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Managua (UNAN - Managua).
For the past year, we have funded the placement of Dr. Justin Manning (pictured left with patient) as a professor at the School as part of the VOSH Corps program. He is playing a critical role in the teaching of students and mentoring of graduates as this exciting time in the profession’s development - and we are delighted that he has just agreed to extend his appointment for another 12 months.
Dr. Manning was recruited to the program after graduating from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 2013, finishing a residency in Ocular Disease at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Tacoma, Washington in Puget Sound, Washington in 2014 and practicing a year at Century Eye Care also in Tacoma.
Dr. Manning has taught four classes at UNAN: General Clinic, Community Clinic II, Contact lens Clinic and Optometry Practice II. He has also increased the number of functioning exam rooms from 2 to 4 at the Optometry Giving Sight supported community clinic, and increased the number of clinic days from 1.5 days per week to 4 per week and introduced keratoconic and scleral specialty contact lenses into the program.
A fifth exam room of instruments will be sent shortly to this clinic thanks to the VOSH Technology Transfer program, including topographer and visual field perimeter. The Clinic also receives lenses and frames thanks to an in kind donation from VSP Global.
Dr. Manning continues to mentor the first UNAN graduates during their first year of clinical practice, including a UNAN graduate hired to practice at a non-profit eye clinic in Boaco, Nicaragua.
“It is one thing if I can treat one individual patient in practice or the clinic; its another thing to empower someone else to be able to do that,” said Dr. Manning.
Photo courtesy Cielo Pictures