On January 5th, 2023, a group of 22 Berkeley students and staff joined Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, on a mission to open a free optometry clinic for the local residents. VOSH is a global organization committed to facilitating “the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.” As of 2022, there are 100 VOSH regional, state and school chapters worldwide working with VOSH, including the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science.
Together with over 50 volunteers, our students were able to provide free eye care for 3,963 patients from all over Nicaragua, in four days. These patients traveled near and far to wait in line as early as 5am. The clinic was set up at the Margareth M. Gulete Free Institute for Adults, in San Juan del Sur. OD students performed exams under the supervision of a doctor, across the 7 clinics on-site. Patients were prescribed and given glasses, as well as medication if diagnosed.
Access to eye care is extremely limited in Nicaragua, with the number of active optometrists and clinics being insufficient to serve all those who need care. Together with VOSH, our students were able to make a strong impact on the communities within Nicaragua, and help bring sight to those struggling to see.Berkeley VOSH VOSH International