NECO Partners with VOSH

NECO students and faculty visited the Dominican Republic with nonprofit group Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH). NECO’s partnership with VOSH has enabled countless students, faculty, and alumni to treat patients in communities all over the world.

NECO students and faculty traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republican as part of the latest VOSH trip where optometrists and providers serve communities around the world. The group was able to serve over 250 patients during a three-day period where students participated in several exams with community members.

Students were exposed to multiple ocular conditions using a portable slit lamp and performed BIO on dilated patients. BIO is the assessment of retinal health and integrity through the use of a binocular scope, that sits on the doctor’s head like a headlamp, in combination with a handheld lens to see an inverted and flipped image of structures of the back of the eye. They were even able to provide patients with glasses, lid scrubs, tears, and sunglasses.

Students gained experience treating patients in different medical settings and learning the unique needs of the patient requires listening and communication that both provider and patient understand.

“This experience was a refreshing reminder that technology should not replace aspects of patient care, but rather supplement the foundational techniques,” shares Michael Dubien OD2. “Trying to minimize language barriers in patient care when you can is important as patients instantly feel more comfortable and trusting of their doctor when they know even a little of their first language. We always want our patients to feel that they are being heard and understood.”


Second year Michael Dubien performing free space Retinoscopy with RET RACK lenses

One of the faculty on the trip was Dr. Jeffrey Ho helped to organize with the Batey Relief Alliance, Gildan International and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic to provide eye care and humanitarian aid to hundreds of people in their community.  “The students not only enhanced their clinical skills but also improved their patient communication. The experience involved a lot of hard work but left lasting memories for all.”

“I was able to appreciate the importance of eye exams and how inaccessible they can be. The trip really impacted where I see myself practicing and persuaded me to consider working at health community centers,” shares Ampha Chaiwongsa OD2.