Delaware Valley University graduate, Caitlin McQueen, works with patients at a vision care clinic in Tanzania. She traveled there in May as part of her education at Salus University in Elkins Park.
The graduate, was part of a vision care clinic in Tanzania, where thousands of people received exams and glasses.
Despite torrential downpours that flooded roads and cut off electricity, a team of young optometry students traveled across the world to offer much needed vision care to thousands who would otherwise have none.
Caitlin McQueen, 28, who graduated from Delaware Valley University in 2012, joined an exclusive team from Salus University in Elkins Park to provide eye exams and glasses to 3,500 people of all ages, during the week-long mission in May.
Of the 800 students who applied for the trip, only 25 were selected. McQueen said, being chosen, "came as quite a surprise."
It was the first time the mission, sponsored by Luxottica, a company that owns several vision care chains, was open to students, McQueen added.
The African trip was very well run, said the optometrist, noting she was especially impressed with the excellent equipment that was sent and the overall quality of the facilities they could establish in the community.
"It was a really great opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated team," McQueen said.
Both the workers and the those seeking care often had to walk through foot-deep water to reach the clinic in Dar Es Salaam, on Tanzania's eastern coast, explained McQueen, who now works with her father in an optometry practice in Massachusetts.
"It was the rainy season and there were awful torrential rains...I was shocked at how little access to care there was." In just one day, the group, which included 25 students and 25 to 30 doctors, saw 900 patients, explained McQueen.
Despite the harsh weather, thousands made their way to the clinics. Infants, children, adults and the elderly came, hoping to find out why their kids weren't doing well in school or discover how a pair of glasses could be life-changing.