Posted By: Frederick Gerber on June 29, 2012

Labels: Vietnam , Volunteers

Volunteer Dr. Aaron Tarbett Vietnam

Project HOPE sent two optometrists volunteers to participate in Pacific Angel 2012 in Vietnam.

Watching the Vietnamese people’s faces when they receive prescription glasses never gets old. They are mostly reserved, putting their new glasses back in their cases and giving a slight bow before leaving. Some of the men are more enthusiastic with their new sight and shake each and every Pacific Angel team member’s hand before walking out the door. A translator was able to give the reason they don’t wear their new glasses out the door, even if their prescription is negative -10: they want to share their new gift together with their family.

Vietnamese man shows off new glasses.

Pictured here is a Vietnamese man showing off his new prescription glasses issued by Project HOPE optometrist Dr. James Honl. HOPE volunteers saw 283 patients on the third day of operations in the local community of Vinh City, north of Hanoi city.

Many of the people seeing the providers have had very little or no professional care. The optometry team estimates that nearly half of the patients they see need cataract surgery. They refer these people to the local Department of Health Services who will follow up with the patients and try to get them the surgery locally. The team is also able to refer patients with severe need to the Pacific Partnership program which will include the USNS MERCY along with Project HOPE volunteers serving off the coast of Vietnam in July 2012. The U.S. Navy hospital ship has 12 operating rooms and will be able to provide follow-up care for many of the referred patients seen by PACANGEL health team.

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