“This trip was life-changing and I learned so much more about optometry in these two weeks than I have in two years of shadowing.”

–Jayna G., Texas A&M Corpus Christi

About the Optometry Program

The World Health Organization has determined that lack of eye-care is one of the most crucial needs in developing countries. Because refractive needs and other eye problems don’t necessarily cause immediate pain, eye care is often under prioritized when resources are limited, – especially for children. Through ISL, thousands of the underserved have received eyewear and eye care.

In order to provide both quality eye care for those in need and appropriate, supervised field experience for volunteers, ISL utilizes a combination of eyewear distribution, in-home screenings, community clinics, and ISL subsidized referrals, in addition to providing eye care education.

Who Is Right For Optometry Teams?

ISL’s optometry teams are ideal for students of optometry at all education levels. Pre-optometry students welcome!

What to Expect

Upon arrival in-country, you will be met at the airport by ISL staff. Your first day will be busy with orientation and intensive training seminars on topics such as the basic eye health assessment and screening exams, visual acuity assessment, measuring pupillary distance, screening and measurement for possible refractive errors, eye health and safety (hygiene, nutrition, UV protection, and injury), criteria for referring patients to eye care professionals, patient interviews, measuring near/distance vision, pinhole occluder testing, screenings for binocular dysfunction, coordinated eye movement, limitations of visual field, color vision, pterygium, and Acanthosis Nigricans, use of the ophthalmoscope and retinoscope, and medical Spanish.

In the community, your team will visit homes and provide visual health screenings and invite those with acute concerns to a field clinic staffed by a local optometrist. At the clinic, you will have the opportunity to rotate through patient intake, basic screenings, and eyewear distribution stations, and actively observe the optometrist perform exams. You will also learn to maintain and manage support equipment, inventories, and supplies, and provide basic eye care instructions.

In the evenings, you will participate in educational seminars on ocular issues. Your team will eat most dinners out in order to relax and experience the local culture and cuisine. You will learn a few traditional dances and explore some important historical/cultural sites.

Recreational options vary by location, but you will have the opportunity to shop for local crafts and explore geographic treasures such as beaches, volcanoes, rain-forests, or caves and explore ruins, city centers, or coffee plantations, and have time for activities such as ziplining, snorkeling, or safari!

Volunteer Involvement

Your team will visit homes and provide visual health screenings and invite those with acute concerns to a field clinic staffed by a local optometrist. At the clinic, you will have the opportunity to rotate through patient intake, basic screenings, and eyewear distribution stations, and actively observe the optometrist perform exams. You will also learn to maintain and manage support equipment, inventories, and supplies, and provide basic eye care instructions.

You may choose NOT to participate in any aspect of patient care with which you are uncomfortable.

Safety and Respect

For the sake of security, ISL volunteers remain together as a team from arrival to departure. Patient rights must be respected at all times; Patients have the right to refuse treatment.

ISL prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, religion or any other factor.

What To Bring

You will need a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, scrubs, donations of medications and medical supplies (optional), and funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, premium recreation, personal spending, and departure tax.

What ISL Provides

ISL Provides 24-hour accompaniment by professional, bilingual staff, airport pickup/drop off, all ground transportation, all lodging, two meals per day, drinking water, instruction by certified opticians, optical supplies and eyewear, and tours and basic recreation.

Countries with upcoming Optometry Program Teams

8 teams found

#PAN415OPT - Optometry Team in Panama from Apr 15, 2017 to Apr 23, 2017 for $1695

Volunteers will be working in ISL partner communities to provide eye care services to those in need. While in Panama they will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#PAN56OPT9 - Optometry Team in Panama from May 06, 2017 to May 14, 2017 for $1795

Volunteers will be working in ISL partner communities to provide eye care services to those in need. While in Panama they will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#BAJA521OPT - Optometry Team in Mexico: Baja from May 21, 2017 to May 27, 2017 for $1395

Volunteers will be working with local health agencies to provide much needed eye care services in one of three ISL partner communities in and around Puerto Peñasco. They will also have the opportunity to explore the colorful Mexican culture and spicy cuisine and enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez.

Just 1 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#BAJA64OPT - Optometry Team in Mexico: Baja from Jun 04, 2017 to Jun 10, 2017 for $1395

Volunteers will be working in with local health agencies to partner in providing much needed health services in the San Raphael community. They will also have the opportunity to explore the culture and cuisine and enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#PAN617OPT9 - Optometry Team in Panama from Jun 17, 2017 to Jun 25, 2017 for $1695

Volunteers will be working in developing communities to provide eye care services to those in need. They will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#BAJA79OPT7 - Optometry Team in Mexico: Baja from Jul 09, 2017 to Jul 15, 2017 for $1395

Volunteers will be working in with local health agencies to partner in providing much needed health services in the San Raphael community. They will also have the opportunity to explore the culture and cuisine and enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#PAN715OPT9 - Optometry Team in Panama from Jul 15, 2017 to Jul 23, 2017 for $1695

Volunteers will be working in developing communities to provide eye care services to those in need. They will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

#BAJA86OPT7 - Optometry Team in Mexico: Baja from Aug 06, 2017 to Aug 12, 2017 for $1395

Volunteers will be working in with local health agencies to partner in providing much needed health services in the San Raphael community. They will also have the opportunity to explore the culture and cuisine and enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez.

Just 3 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!