Returning Vision is a charitable organisation formed over a decade ago by Cardiff Optometrist Peter Hong. They aim to bring a higher level of eye care to less developed Countries such as Malawi Romania and Moldova. Often taken for granted in our society, the services the charity provide are to be considered life changing.


Romania - Returning Vision 2014

The 2014 Returning Vision Trip left for the remote parts of Romania in September 2014. On the Trip were Andrew Matheson and Dorian Waters, old hands at this sort of thing, Malcolm Mciver, Andrew’s pre-registration graduate optometrist and 4 3rd year Optometry students from Cardiff University, Alexy Jackson, Brodie Wainwright, Sejal Mistry and Sophie Buist.

Our first stop was a village called Valfurile, which is about 4 hours east from Timisoara, where we landed. We set up camp and saw patients on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We then travelled to Stinapari, about 4-5 hours away for 1 days testing, then leaving for Carbunari, high in the mountains. The last day was spent in a town on the Sebian border called Coronini. We saw a further 487 patients on our last, very long day before heading home via Timisoara. We examined 1487 people in all, dispensing approximately 2000 pairs of spectacles, did 15 home visits for the infirm and 4 minor procedures.




Malawi - Returning Vision 2013

Andrew Matheson, a local Hampshire optometrist whose practices Matheson Optometrists are located in Hampshire, along with a group of other UK Eyecare professionals, collectively known as Returning Vision, visited Malawi this summer.
During 5 days of intensive eye examinations, over 2000 people were tested. For many Malawi people this was the first and possibly only, sight test that they might ever have. In addition minor eye conditions were treated with antibiotics, ingrowing eyelashes removed etc.

As with the previous expedition to Romania, many of these people, had vision so bad that they would have been classified as blind or partially sighted in the UK. Luckily in most cases that were seen, their sight could be simply restored by the provision of suitable spectacles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 38% of the blind in the undeveloped world are simply because they dont have the correct spectacles. This is even greater than those caused by cataracts (38%).
About half the spectacles supplied were new and donated by the participating optometrists and half good condition, calibrated and serviced, second hand ones kindly donated by Matheson Optometrists patients. Between these 2 sources of corrective eyewear we were able to restore adequate sight to the majority of the patients seen.

There are collecting boxes for good condition second hand spectacles at all seven Matheson Optometrists Practices in Grayshott, Liphook, Petrersfield, Alresford, Denmead, Purbrook and Four Marks. These are then overhauled and serviced before being catalogued for future use.
the project was organised through Sight 2020 Direct, the Onani eye foundation and the catholic church in Malawi, also providing accommodation and transport and suitable venues for the visiting optometrists
The main sponsors for the new spectacles provided were Matheson Optometrists and Peter Hong optometrists in Gwent, Wales. Complex prescriptions were made with the help of Will Luff and his company Fairplay Optical.
It is hoped that a future visit by an ophthalmologist will enable those requiring cataract surgery to see again too.




Romania - Returning Vision 2011

In the summer of 2011, Andrew Matheson, a local optometrist and colleague, Dorian Waters, took a group of final year optometry students from Cardiff University to a small village in the Romanian countryside where they provided free eye-care services to the local rural population. They were assisted by Mr Matheson's teenage daughter Claire, currently doing her A-levels, who hopes to take Optometry at Cardiff when she finishes her A-levels. This trip exposed the soon to graduate optometry students to a wide range of eye conditions that they might not often meet in general practice. One such Optometry student, Darlin Yapp, subsequentially took her post graduate pre-registration year at Matheson Optometrists. She is now a fully qualified member of the Matheson Optometrists Eye-care Team.
It was a very humbling experience to see how disadvantaged these poor rural people were simply because they could not see properly. It was surprising how most of the people living in the rural areas of Romania have never had an eye examination. During the week they were in Romania, the group examined 1013 peoples eye, several hundred of whom could hardly see the top letters of the eye examination chart.

The group dispensed close to 1700 pairs of spectacles during their visit. These were a mixture of new frames glazed to common prescriptions, second hand spectacles donated by patients at the Matheson Optometrist practices and more complicated prescriptions which were manufactured to new frames on the groups return. 



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Returning Vision is part of the charity organisation Sight 2020 Direct, registered charity no 108974