Story written in collaboration with first-year optometry student, Vickie Kuo.
Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International is an organization aimed to provide the gift of vision and eye health to people worldwide, especially to those in underserved communities. Over Spring Break (March 25th, 2023 through April 2nd, 2023), optometry students Amy Chen and Vickie Kuo joined optometry students from the University of Xochicalco (Mexicali) on a campaign led by VOSH-California President Dr. Greg Pearl, to provide eye exams for school-children and their teachers in the towns of Santa Rosalia, Mulege and Loreto in Baja Sur, Mexico.
On Monday and Tuesday, our students examined school-children in Santa Rosalia. On Wednesday, they drove to Mulege and drove to Loreto on Thursday and Friday, expecting to examine at least 25 patients each day. Patients chose a frame to be fabricated in the US and shipped to them within a month. On Saturday, they drove to Guerrero Negro for a whale watching excursion into Magdalena Bay, a fantastic seasonal experience unique to Baja!
The cross-cultural experience working alongside the University of Xochicalco optometry students was unique and fun, as students shared their enthusiasm for learning and practicing the skills of the optometric profession. Although the Xochicalco optometry students live in Baja, most of them have never driven down to the remote villages where the campaign took place. About 1,300 patients were examined by the group of 10 students with about 1,100 receiving a new prescription and glasses.
Access to eye care can be very limited in Baja California, Mexico with many traveling hours just to see an eyecare professional. Together with VOSH, our students were able to help bring eyecare to these remote villages, giving these children the opportunity to see better in order to focus on their education and future.
Amy and Vickie are members of the Berkeley Chapter of VOSH. To read more about VOSH at Berkeley, please click the button below!Berkeley VOSH