|Anna Do, Stanford Medical Student - US
During the summer after my first year of medical school, I came to the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai to explore the greatness I had read about in books and case studies, and to carry out a research project in the Low Vision Clinic with Dr. Ilango. We set out to quantify the effect of low vision services on patient quality of life using a questionnaire. I also interviewed individual ophthalmologists across the hospital to investigate physician perceptions of low vision tools and services, and barriers to their utilization. With the help of Dr. Ilango and everyone involved, our project which began as a small qualitative study, unfolded to become a way for the hospital to improve clinical care for patients with low vision through increasing awareness about low vision with a grand rounds presentation, and even a product design for low cost low closed-circuit television at the Aurolab manufacturing center.
What made my time at Aravind particularly special were the people I met. The physicians and the sisters inspired me with their dedication to the cause of eliminating needless blindness and their hospitality. The selfless dedication toward helping restore vision and treating eye disease in the community was moving – we were not working towards a vision of delivering excellent eye care to the needy, but changing lives - ensuring children are able to read their school books, and restoring independence to the elderly. My experience at Aravind was the greatest motivation for me to become an ophthalmologist. I am now applying to ophthalmology residency and plan to incorporate global health into my career, hopefully I will return to Aravind again.