Kate Thomson, of Specsavers Runcorn, spent two weeks working with people in Ethiopia as part of a mission trip with the charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO).
Among those who she helped was an eight-year-old schoolgirl whose sight was so poor that she had been forced to give up going to classes. But thanks to Kate and a team of six other opticians donating their time and skills on the trip, she now has a pair of second-hand glasses to help her see properly and can go back to school.
Kate spent a week testing eyes in the south-central town of Butajira, before heading to the mountainous area of Batu, where she concentrated on dispensing glasses.
Kate said: “As a team, we saw around 1,000 people during the two weeks we were in Ethiopia, which meant a lot of hard work and long hours to see as many people as we could every day.
“But while we only ever got to spend a few minutes with each person, cases like this young girl really did keep us going. Without Vision Aid Overseas, she’d have had no access to any eyecare so wouldn’t have been able to go to school or get a job or live an independent life.”
She added: “Thanks to a few minutes of my time, a relatively simple eye test and a pair of recycled glasses, her whole life has changed. Knowing you’ve made a difference like that really does put things into perspective when you’re back home.”
VAO aims to bring essential eyecare to people in the developing world