The Syrian Arab Red Crescent

In partnership with humanitarian agency Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), six volunteers from Optical Express travelled to Syria to help those whose lives had been severely affected by poor vision. As part of Dr Morhaf’s and the Red Crescent's eye camp, they provided life-changing treatment to patients in some of the country’s most impoverished areas.

Over the course of 6 days, our team travelled to the regions of Salamiyya, Hama and Alghab to provide essential eye care to those blighted by poor vision. Armed with 2,500 pairs of spectacles and 3,000 pairs of lenses, donated by Optical Express, they successfully treated a total of 3,500 patients. The mission was part of our ongoing commitment to improving eye care and helping to eliminate avoidable blindness in impoverished areas of the globe.

Due to widespread poverty in Syria, essential eye care is sadly not an option for many. One of our volunteers, Jill Young, commented: “The cases were heartbreaking. I have never seen so many blind children with no provision for primary eye care. People were begging us to be seen.”

Patients that were treated by our team ranged from children with Cerebral Palsy to adults who would be diagnosed as blind in the UK. Over 40 per cent of treated patients suffered from diabetes, with an even larger percentage having been affected by conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment.

The trip highlighted the urgent need for further support in the provision of essential eye care in Syria. Scott Mackie, another member of our team of volunteers, stated: “Everyone involved valued us being there. We got to be part of this life-changing experience, giving us the opportunity to treat patients in Syria. This is just the start and I can't wait to see how we might be able to help further in the future.”