Optometry Giving Sight will seek support from the eye health profession and industry to help fund the development of an Optometry program at the University of Haiti (L’UEH). The collaborative project will be initiated by L’UEH, the Brien Holden Vision Institute, VOSH International and Optometry Giving Sight. It is hoped, funding permitting, that the first class could enroll as soon as 2014.
“The process of rebuilding continues in Haiti and the country is now ready to embark on the development of health and eye care programs,” said Clive Miller, Global CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “With the help of the international community, the opportunity now exists to establish not only an optometry program, but also, eventually, a comprehensive eye health program that will increase capacity through education and research, strengthen overall health systems and impact government policy to provide for current and future needs.”
There are currently only 3 optometrists and 58 ophthalmologists (6 in the public sector) in a country of 10 million – meaning that refractive errors and basic eye care remain largely unattended to. In addition, most ECPs are located in the capital, making it all the more difficult for up to 70% of people in this resource poor country to access health services. In short, this is a transformative project that will change the lives of millions for years to come.
Thanks to funding provided by Optometry Giving Sight and its donors and sponsors, work towards the development of the curriculum for the new degree has already begun.
Caption: These children received an eye exam and glasses at the new Vision Plus Clinic in Haiti in May, thanks to the support of our donors and sponsors. Our funding purchased equipment for 2 exam lanes for the refraction and training room at the clinic. Now more than 600 people a week have access to affordable eye care! (Project Partners: Vision For the Poor / International Eye Foundation).