On Friday 16 November, along with seven fellow QUT optometry students, Old Boy Leo Liu (2014) will be travelling to Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico. The two-week trip is held by the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity/International (VOSH) who have designated the mission to combat blindness and to provide high quality optometric services to all developing nations. The placement, which entails approximately 80 hours of clinical work, will help with screening and the examination of the Mexican locals. Leo and his colleagues will experience real world practice in eyecare and embrace the opportunity to apply techniques developed over their four years of study. Furthermore, they will share ideas and best practice with doctors, optometrists and optometry students from the United States and Canada.

Ciudad Guzmán is a small city of approximately of 100,000 people. Its demand for healthcare and eyecare is not unlike the rural and remote regions of Australia. However, under Mexico’s limited healthcare systems, there is a prevalence of sight threatening diseases (such as diabetic retinopathies, glaucoma, macular degeneration, sun related damage) that go undetected. Thankfully, with early detection and proper management, the blindness and vision loss incurred by these conditions are readily preventable with early detection and proper management.

Leo and his colleagues have set their sights on two primary goals: to create awareness of this situation in rural communities of Ciudad Guzmán and to provide assistance to screen, detect and combat the eye conditions in those with the greatest needs. Although they acknowledge that their contributions may be small in the grand vision of things, through their advice, management, measures of prevention, supply of therapeutics and aids (including spectacles for vision correction, sunglasses for sun protection and eye drops for symptomatic patients) they are taking important steps to build momentum for future like-minded endeavours.

Feel free to help Leo and his colleagues create awareness by sharing their mission with any interested family or friends! You can also support them with a financial contribution by clicking on the following link: