Mission Trip to Fiji

Group in FijiEarlier this year, a group of students from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, worked with the nonprofit organization, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), and traveled to Savusavu, Fiji to help the optically underserved.

The group was able to see a total of 238 patients, and dispense 200 sunglasses and 200 glasses. We supported this mission trip with a glasses pack donation and an autorefractor.

Mission Trip to Savusavu, Fiji

Kiira Harrison, Doctor of Optometry Candidate Class of 2018 and SVOSH Co-President, tells us that many of the recipients of reading glasses were using other people’s readers prior to receiving their own.  Often times this meant that the power of the lenses was incorrect which was not helping them at all with near vision tasks. The patients were beyond delighted upon receiving their own pair – they could now read more clearly and for longer.

img_1709Kiira adds that with these new readers some patients were able to see better while sewing, a profession that serves as a livelihood for many.

When asked about the need for sunglasses, Kiira says:

“We were also able to give out Rx sunglasses, which really helped out a lot of the patients who needed to wear glasses full time and did not have sunglasses that fit over their glasses. This was very helpful for better sun protection, especially for the patients with growing pterygiums and cataracts.”

Map of Fiji

Image Credit: U.S. Dept. of State

About Fiji

Fiji is an island country in Lenaesia in the South Pacific Ocean, located about 1000 miles northeast of New Zealand.  Some of its closest neighbors are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, the Kermadec Islands to the southeast, and the Samoas to the northeast.

Although it has one of the most developed economies of the Pacific island nations, Fiji still has a large subsistence sector – a non-monetary economy that relies on natural resources to provide for basic needs. Natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil, and hydropower. After tourism, Fiji’s sugar industry is a significant earner and a major export.

Savusavu is a town located on the south coast of Fiji’s northern island of Vanua Levu. Known as the “hidden paradise of Fiji,” tourism is growing in importance, with many scuba diving and yachting facilities.

More Pictures from Fiji

Jessica Altamirano

Jessica Altamirano

Communications Specialist at National Vision, Inc.
Jessica Altamirano is a proud Veteran spouse who has worked for NVI since 2014. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. Jessica is passionate about corporate-nonprofit partnerships, philanthropic efforts in developing countries, Veteran recruitment, and creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
Jessica Altamirano