From basic light perception to better than UK driving standard

Optometrist Ryan Burke, recently returned from a sight saving mission to Moldova in Eastern Europe to treat 1,600 people in just five days. The trip was jointly organised by a group from Cardiff University and a Romanian pastor. Ryan joined the students and qualified optometrists who carried out eye tests and fitted glasses for people in temporary clinics in village halls, churches and communal buildings.

Ryan says: ‘One patient was a lady who walked in having never had a pair of glasses in her life. Her level of sight was ‘light perception’ – this is the most basic form of vision where only light can be perceived, no shapes, form or even movement. She was also heavily short sighted, but my colleague Louise restored her sight with strong lens and she left the clinic able to see better than the driving standard in the UK.’

Ryan continues: ‘It’s a great dose of perspective because these people have little to no access to what seems like basic healthcare to us. It feels amazing to give people something so simple and potentially life changing and it’s great to see the students develop.’

Tavistock Specsavers, store director, Sarah Routly, says: ‘We are very proud of Ryan and everything that he achieved during his time in Moldova. It’s really important for optometrists to experience a range of environments. This enables them to adapt their skills and give people the best treatment regardless of the facilities available.’

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