Instructions for distributing eyeglasses

  • Vision screening, helping the screening doctor with the patients and OR work are priorities. Work with glasses only if these jobs are already being done, even if glasses are more fun!
  • Help with all glasses to choose the right size for their faces! Show them how to put it on! Try to get a mirror in the room so they can look at themselves.
  • Wipe all glasses with Windex or alcohol before giving them out!
  • Wipe the black number off with alcohol from the lenses.
  • If the numbers written on the 2 lenses is more than 1.0 diopter different from each other, or one lens has 2 numbers on and the second one is more than 1, throw the glasses out. (We are not supposed to have these glasses, but we might.) Also, if the glasses are crooked, broken or a lens is missing, throw them out.
  • Lens-cases are only for VIPs. (People who work with us, ministers, village chief, village elders and their families.)


Reading glasses:

They are PLUS, magnifying glasses. We should only give reading glasses to those who have a particular need – not as a “souvenir”. Hopefully, we will have enough reading glasses to supply everyone in need. Please, avoid dispensing all the readers for everyone who asks for it during the first few days and then later not being able to provide for those who really need them.

Reading glasses range from +1.25 to +3.00 Diopter in 0.25 Diopter steps.

For those people, who see well to distance, the power goes according to age:

40-44 +1.25 D
45-49 +1.50 D
50-54 +1.75 D
55-59 +2.00 D
60-64 +2.25 or +2.50 D
65 and above +2.50 or + 3.00 D

If there is no right power of glasses left, can give +0.25 D more or less!
Some of the numbers written on the lenses are not correct. For the reading glasses, most of them have their number written on the handle too-and that is the CORRECT number.
Have people try them on before giving them out and have them read something. Have some reading material, eg: Bible in the room.
Also, lots of people are illiterate; ask them if they need readers for close tasks, like sewing, cooking or other kind of work requiring good near vision. If not, do NOT give them reading glasses!
Please, explain patients that the readers are supposed to be worn only when reading, it is going to make the distance vision blurry, so remove them for distance. (Seems obvious for us, but not for them.)


Prescription glasses:

We will also take some distance glasses for nearsighted people. (MINUS glasses, they minify). Make sure you dispense them only if there is an objective improvement in distance vision. (Patient can read better the distance vision chart with glasses.) Try them on, ask if they see better with them. If not, do NOT dispense them. You can try on 1 Diopter more or less if glasses do not help.

Those people with poor vision which does not improve with glasses need to see one of the doctors.


Aphakic glasses:

They are for people who had cataract surgery but did not receive an implant. They are very thick, +12 Diopters PLUS glasses. The vision without these is extremely poor. They have to be purchased by us, cost 50$. Distribute these only if the person sees at least 20/200 with these. ALWAYS CHECK WITH DOCTOR BEFORE GIVING THESE OUT!!! We might not have enough.



Initially save them for those patients who have a pterygium (visible growth on the cornea, usually from the sun), or complain of light-sensitivity. Towards the end of the trip we can dispense them to others too if we have extras left. (Mainly for VIPs) Only one pair of sunglasses per person!

The postoperative patients will have sunglasses in a separate box, marked, please do not give these out to regular patients.
Please, keep 1 pair of each strength of readers in case we are running out of glasses for trial-at least we can tell patients what number they need.


PLEASE, AVOID GIVING OUT GLASSES AS “SOUVENIRS” !!! If you give someone glasses who does not really need them, another person who needs them will not be able to get them! The glasses we leave there are getting distributed later by the local nurses.