ICO in Ecuador: SVOSH Edition
Wanderlust: a term that many of my colleagues here at the Illinois College of Optometry know me as. Every chance I get, I am always making plans, packing bags, and taking off to any location I can whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally. As the ICO academic calendar runs quarterly, this allows for many periodic breaks which are perfect to book quick getaways for hard-working students. This past break, however, was more than just wanderlust for me. Being an active member of the student organization Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (AKA SVOSH), myself and a group of 18 other students ventured to Santo Domingo, Ecuador to give eye care to underserved populations.
We jetted off to South America’s
It wasn’t all work. As a group we were able to have a few days of sightseeing, including everything from visiting the coveted “Middle of the World” equator to spending time with nature at a hummingbird and butterfly sanctuary. Most important to me was to recap with my colleagues that in a short four-day period, we gave approximately 2,400 examinations, handed out 2,200 sunglasses (a necessity in sunny Ecuador where UV is at an all-time high), 2,000 pairs of prescription glasses, 120 cataract referrals, and numerous cases of glaucoma, infection, inflammation detected and subsequently treated.
It was a whirlwind, vastly differing from the