Optometry Giving Sight is a charitable organization whose mission is to train local eye care professionals in order to establish vision centers that can deliver local eye care and low cost glasses in poor, third world countries. This is achieved by raising funds to establish optometry schools and clinics in third world countries so that native residents can be trained to help take care of their own population. Instead of having a medical team go to a country, provide medical eye care for a week and then leave, this allows the country to grow their own care in a sustainable way. It subscribes to the teaching, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” philosophy.
The number one cause of preventable blindness in the world is not having a pair of glasses. More than 600 million people around the world are blind or are sight impaired because they do not have access to the eye examination and glasses that they need. There are many children being taught Braille in third world countries who would have normal vision with a simple pair of glasses.
Dr. Hertneky was in Haiti for a week and provided eye care to the Haitians. He had done similar clinics in Indonesia and Mexico as an optometry student, but this was his first opportunity to do it as a real doctor.
The whole purpose of his trip was to be an ambassador for Optometry Giving Sight in order to raise awareness of the lack of eye care facilities in Haiti.Optometry Giving Sight is in the process of raising $1 million to build an optometry school there. They have already helped in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to name a few.
The team of 9 that Dr.Hertneky was part of flew into Cap Haitian, Haiti on January 10th and saw almost 1700 Haitians over the course of the week. His group consisted of four optometrists, two 4th year optometry school students, and 3 ladies ranging from ages 13 to 22. Cap Haitian is on the south side of Haiti and has a population of 1 million people. The earthquake hit the north side of Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince, but had very little effect on the south side of the island where Cap Haitian is located. But, Cap Haitian pretty much doubled in size after the earthquake as many people moved there from the Port-au-Prince side as there was very little damage there.
Be sure to check out the gallery to see pictures of some of the wonderful people Dr.Hertneky was lucky enough to get to work with and meet!!!