Specsavers Sunbury graduate optometrist, Tuong Nghiem, was selected out of applicants across Australia and New Zealand to travel to Vietnam in April as part of an outreach program to train doctors in the latest eye testing processes and give eye screenings to school children.
After growing up in Vietnam himself, Tuong is passionate about providing access to quality eye health care in underdeveloped countries. He explains, “In Australia, we are blessed to have a universal health care system with bulk billed eye tests available to all residents. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many developing countries where it is common for eye diseases to be left untreated, resulting in avoidable blindness”.
While on the trip, Tuong worked with Specsavers’ charity partner, The Fred Hollows Foundation on its Vietnam Child Eye Care Project based in Tiền Giang, two hours south of Ho Chi Minh City.
Over 20 doctors from the district and provincial eye hospitals attended the two-day training program hosted by Tuong and a senior Specsavers optometrist, designed to update basic knowledge about refraction (the process of measuring the focus of an eye), eye screening processes and new techniques for dispensing glasses. Tuong then joined local doctors at Than Cuu Nghia Secondary School to help carry out carry out much needed eye tests to 100 local children.
“The trip was not just about finding eye diseases, but about creating the backbone of a sustainable eye care system by training Vietnam’s local doctors. Providing the tools and knowledge to treat eye health conditions goes a long way in changing the trajectory of even the most remote communities.” says Tuong.
Tuong is part of the two year Specsavers Graduate Program, which sees its members gain expertise in mentored scenarios to help prepare them for the real world of business.
Gabi Hollows, Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation said, “The Foundation is honoured to have optometrists such as Tuong from the Specsavers Graduate Program working with our local teams. Trips like this are invaluable in working towards our shared vision of access to quality eyecare around the world.”
All Specsavers stores nationwide support The Fred Hollows Foundation and a number of local charities through the Specsavers Community Program which raises money by giving customers a token that represents a donation when they purchase a pair of glasses. The customer chooses to drop the token into a box for Specsavers national charity of choice, The Fred Hollows Foundation, or a second box that collects for the store’s local charity of choice.