Nursing Students Distribute Donated Eyeglasses in Uganda

Your used eyeglasses can make an incredible difference to individuals living in developing countries with no access to healthcare. Each year, the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation provides thousands of used eyeglasses generously donated by individuals in our service area to medical mission trips -- and the effect these eyeglasses have on those in need is completely life-changing.

Eyeglasses were recently provided for a transcultural nursing trip to the Gulu Region of Northern Uganda. Led by faculty members from Research College of Nursing, Johnson County Community College and Kansas University, Kansas City-area nursing students worked with their Ugandan counterparts at the St. Mary’s School of Nursing, implemented the “Helping Babies Breathe Program” and completed vision screenings of several people and students.

According to Lana Davies, assistant professor at the Research College of Nursing, the group distributed 200 pairs of glasses and left 100 to be donated to local schools. The stories she heard from the recipients were incredibly touching:

“One child approximately 8 years of age was brought by his father for a screening. He had a severe vision impairment, but when he placed his glasses on for the first time, he smiled, turned around in circles and was amazed by what he saw. His father cried.

Another day we went to a home for elderly and disabled nuns. One nun that received glasses raised her hands in praise, looked at her bible, and said that it was the first time that she was able to read her bible in years.

We also screened several staff at the hospital, the nursing students and nursing faculty. One student nurse approached me and said that her mother was a school teacher in a remote village and had difficulty seeing. The mother made a long trip to see us for glasses. She had a severe vision problem and left with glasses that corrected her vision to 20/20. 

We would like to thank the Lions Club members for the glasses. Even one pair of glasses had an amazing impact on the future life of these people!”

You can change the life of someone in need simply by recycling your glasses instead of tossing them in the trash. To donate your eyeglasses, look for a Lions eyeglass box in your community, drop them off at your local MLERF/Heartland Lions Eye Banks branch office or send them directly to: MLERF, 404 Portland St., Columbia, MO 65201.