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PolyU’s “Vision of Love Mobile Eye Care Project” promotes eye healthcare for the needy
[Sponsored Article] The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launched the "Vision of Love Mobile Eye Care Project" (the Project) on 13 January 2017. With a mobile optometric unit, the Project is reaching out to the community and bringing vision screening and eye health education to the doorsteps of people in need. The Project also serves as a platform to further engage the students of PolyU's School of Optometry (SO) to working hand-in-hand with The PolyU Volunteers in serving the community through Service-Learning.
The "Vison of Love Fund" (the Fund) is established with the generous support of Miss Cally Kwong, PolyU University Fellow and member of the Governing Committee of the PolyU Foundation, with a focus on community vision care.
PolyU was the first university in Hong Kong to incorporate Service-Learning subjects into its core academic pedagogy. Since 2014, SO has offered a Service-Learning subject titled "Learning through Providing Eye Care and Vision Health to the Community" to encourage students to apply their professional knowledge to serve the community. Over the past three years, more than 900 students from different disciplines have participated in providing vision screening and eye care education to over 16,000 people in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland, Cambodia and Vietnam. Under the Vision of Love Mobile Eye Care Project supported by the Fund, a seven-seater has been turned into a mobile eye care utility equipped with advanced vision screening equipment, which will enable PolyU to further extend its outreach service to different districts in Hong Kong. It is estimated that 5,000 vision screenings can be conducted in the first year of service, a big increase over the 3,000 screenings done annually in the past.
Professor Timothy W. Tong, PolyU President, expressed heartfelt gratitude on behalf of PolyU and the beneficiaries of the Project, to Miss Kwong and her friends for their generous donation of HK$3.8 million to the Fund. Addressing the launch ceremony, he said, "In providing community services, our professional optometry team finds that many people, especially the underprivileged, due to ignorance, financial or time constraints, often neglect the importance of regular vision screening. Even when problems are found, they would forgo timely follow-ups, thus leading to deterioration of eyesight. With the launch of this Project, our optometry experts and students can further outreach to the community to provide early prevention and intervention of vision problems. The support of Miss Kwong and other donors for the Project through the Vision of Love Fund is indeed a very meaningful and timely gift for PolyU's 80th anniversary."
Mobile Eye Care Project incorporating service, learning and research
Speaking at the ceremony, Miss Kwong said, "I always have great concern about the welfare of the underprivileged and the elderly. I greatly appreciate PolyU's efforts in promoting Service-Learning and I can see that they have achieved many impressive outcomes. It is my pleasure to raise fund for the establishment of the Vision of Love Fund to support this meaningful mobile eye care project. I am confident that the Project would be sustainable in providing the most professional and quality services to the needy and at the same time offering more Service-Learning opportunities to our PolyU students."
Professor To Chi-ho, Head of SO, introduced the Project at the ceremony. "With a mobile vision screening utility, our outreach Project can provide vision screening to more people in need in various districts. Those screened having eye problems will then be provided with comprehensive eye examination, vision rehabilitation and follow-ups with PolyU facilities. Under this Project, SO will also analyze the data collected for further research into myopia prevalence and myopia related issues."
The PolyU Volunteers, comprising PolyU students, staff and alumni, will also participate in the Project to provide caring visits to the needy, such as people in elderly or disabled centres. They will also be trained by SO professionals to provide basic vision screening onsite.
To promote sustainable development, a campaign of collecting used eye glasses will be launched throughout PolyU campus. Eye glasses collected will be screened and adjusted by PolyU's optometry team before re-distribution to people in need.