Optometry students from UK visited Moldova on volunteering mission

A group of optometry students have recently returned from a sight saving mission to Moldova in Eastern Europe, wrote devonlive.com.

Lauren Broderick, 21, from Teignmouth, was among the group of six students and four qualified optometrists who carried out eye tests and fitted glasses for people in temporary clinics in village halls, churches and communal buildings.

Lauren said: “The most memorable part of our trip was by far experiencing people’s reactions to their new glasses. Some began queuing to see us at 2 am. It made me realize how in the UK we often take things for granted. From sight tests to cataract operations and glaucoma treatment, we are so lucky to have them all widely available and for free.

“We were in one village for two days and on the first day I gave a middle aged man a pair of distance and reading glasses that had been donated in the UK. At first he didn't stick in my mind. Then I saw him the next day when we left the school where we were based. He saw me, pointed at his glasses and gave me a thumbs up and a huge grin. It reminded me how what seemed like a small thing could make such a difference to someone.”

Lauren’s visit to Moldova was made possible thanks to a fundraising event at the Specsavers Teignmouth store and other fundraising drives.

The money raised was used to buy glasses to take, and also to make up and send more complex prescriptions back to Moldova once they returned to the UK.

Store director, Michael Todd, said: “Thank you to everyone who donated their old specs or helped us fundraise in our marathon rowing challenge in the summer. It is great to hear first-hand from Lauren what a difference everyone has made.”

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