Yuen Aimee Chan


Clinical blindness of 20/200 vision or greater in both eyes is rampant throughout Africa. Remarkably, most of these cases are either curable or preventable. There are 45 million blind people in the world and those who live in sub-Saharan Africa have a mortality rate four times higher than other areas worldwide [1]. Unite For Sight (UFS) is a non-profit organization that promotes eye health and reduce preventable blindness in communities worldwide. UFS has assisted over 1,000,000 patients and has provided 32,000 sight-restoring surgeries free of charge [2]. An opportunity for combination of volunteer work with research will contribute to this cause. Research will be conducted over a three-week period in rural areas of Accra, Ghana through volunteering abroad with UFS. During the volunteer experience, clinical service will be performed while assisting eye doctors and nurses in rural villages to provide free eye care to patients living in extreme poverty. Through interactions with patients, qualitative and quantitative research will be conducted with those whose vision in both eyes is equal to or greater than 20/200. In addition, qualitative and quantitative research will also be conducted with the patients' principle caretakers. Results of this study will illuminate the social and economic challenges faced by impoverished patients and their caretakers due to limitations of the disease and poor access to quality medical care.