by Harmin Chima, OSU Optometry Student
For some Ohio State (OSU) Optometry students, spring break means sandy beaches and palm trees. For eight students, spring break consisted of the opportunity to serve others. These specific students visited Jamaica, and took their direct ophthalmoscopes with them. They traveled through the college’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO) on a medical mission trip to Frome, Jamaica, where they used their skills to provide vision services at the Gamertsfelder Medical Center. This center is named after Dr. Paul Gamertsfelder, who started Men in Mission in 1974; the group responsible for constructing the center in 2008. The students were hosted by Dr. Doug McCloy, who has a practice in Marion, OH, and is heavily involved with the medical center in Jamaica.
The initiative was headed by Ty Clase, a second year optometry student. With his hard work, as well as the hard work of many other students, the trip was a great success. This was the first mission team composed of optometry students from OSU to visit the Gamertsfelder Medical Center. They brought a plethora of donated ophthalmic equipment much needed in the clinic. During their time on the island, the students saw 165 patients. “Our outreach days consisted of cataract surgical assessment, free clinic with full exams, and school children screening,” stated Clase. The students also served by distributing bibles and offering prayer to those who came to the clinic.
When asked about the experience, Clase informed me that he and the others grew both mentally and spiritually on the trip. “As students,” he said, ” we were exposed to diseases most of us had just read about in our textbooks. Spiritually, we grew closer in our individual faith walk.”
FCO at OSU plans to make this an annual trip as an alternative, service-based spring break. For more information on the Gamertsfelder Medical Center, please visit www.missionofsight.org.