A Specsavers optician has returned from Southern Ethiopia where he carried out eye examinations for disadvantaged children.

Alan Bartholomew, an optician at Specsavers in North Shields, travelled with the charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) to work at a centre that cares for 1,000 underprivileged children. During the trip, Alan and the team also trained local health care staff to screen and monitor the children’s eye health.

A word from Alan

Alan said: ‘I was always taught not to waste the skills you are given, I feel very proud that I am able to travel abroad and help those less fortunate. This was my third trip overseas to provide vital eyecare so I know how important this training and care is to the people in Africa.

‘The answer isn’t always as simple as handing over spectacles to the children so we are glad we were able to use our time there to set up a partnership with the region’s largest hospital. This will allow children needing further treatment to be referred to an ophthalmology department to receive the care and attention they need.

‘I would like to thank all of my supporters for their kind donations and words of encouragement before and after my visit – it really means a lot to me.’

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