Cochrane optometrist Dr. Jonah Gilham's recent trip to Malawi Africa with Canadian Vision Care was a rewarding and eye-opening experience.
Canadian Vision Care is a humanitarian organization that travels the world bringing the gift of sight to 20 countries in the developing world.
Gilham has just returned from his second trip to Africa where he was able to help treat people for various eye conditions. One of the leading causes of blindness in the world is cataracts and the effect they can have on people’s lives can vary depending on where you live in the world. Gilham says in Africa, “There’s just not enough resources so people are not screened appropriately, cataracts get so bad that you cannot even see into the eye. Routine eye exams are also just not a thing there yet. There’s glaucoma and macular degeneration that is not detected as quickly as it is here. Routine eye care is not available there as it is here.”
Leaving the comfort and routine of his practice in Cochrane and traveling to Africa provided Gilham with a better insight and appreciation of where home is and the nature of his work. “Seeing how good we have it here, I love giving people great eye care. It was really sad over there a lot of the time seeing what was happening to people and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to go over there and help. But coming back, it keeps sparking my joy for optometry and doing what I do here.”
Dr. Gilham’s trip was obviously beneficial for the many patients he treated and for himself. It was so rewarding that he hopes to travel to the Philippines next year and offer his services there explaining, “They have the Eye Train there, which is really interesting, it is just this train that has been outfitted into an optometry clinic. So, you go inside the train, and you get your eyes done and they fit you with glasses and everything.”
It sounds like another incredible opportunity for Dr. Gilham and the patients he will treat.