A Cochrane optometrist is back from an incredible trip to the Philippines where he treated over 1000 patients in just five days.

Dr. Jonah Gilham who works at Cochrane Family Vision said it was a whirlwind trip seeing that many patients but he was able to treat them on the SPECS Eye Train clinic in Manila. 

"There's an old box car train which they totally renovated, took everything out of the inside and turned it into a clinic. Each boxcar is a different area where there's an optical, there's places where you can do a prescription, there's places you can do health examinations."

Jonah Gilham provided eye care on the SPECS Eye Train clinic.

"I'm just so blessed that I was able to go over there and help. People were so warm and loving and happy."

This wasn't the first volunteer trip for Gilham. He travelled to Africa last year and said there were some vast differences in the eye health between the two countries. 

"In Africa there were a lot more sick eyes that have never seen an optometrist before and so we saw more major health conditions like glaucoma. In the Philippines I found that the eyes were quite a bit more healthy, but they had much worse prescriptions."

"We would see a high amount of astigmatism, which can cause smearing. If you're looking at a letter U, it would appear smeared and make it very hard to read. Those patients needed a lot more refractive care, which means complex glasses prescriptions whereas in Africa, most people just need a reading glasses but needed health exams."

There were four doctors in total treating the patients on the Eye Train along with optometry students from the University of Waterloo. 

Gilham volunteers for Canadian Vision Care and has travelled to Peru, Africa twice and is planning to go to Trinidad next. 

JonahFrom left: Dr. Switzer, Dr. Viergutz, Dr. Gilham and Dr. Stein