Optometry student sets sights on Nicaragua

Mobile eye care clinic restores vision to underprivileged

Kyrstie McIntosh

Kyrstie McIntosh

A woman born and raised in 100 Mile House is hoping to travel to Nicaragua with an eye care team.

Kyrstie McIntosh says she is fundraising to enable her to travel to the country in Central America for the last week of March with a team of 10 student volunteers and two optometrists.

Once there, the group will set up and operate a mobile clinic to perform eye exams for underprivileged people, she explains, moving on to a different Nicaraguan location every day.

In a single week, they will likely see upwards of 1,000 patients with vision impairment or eye problems, McIntosh adds.

She grew up at Mahood Lake, where her family still resides, and currently attends Pacific University’s College of Optometry in Oregon.

In furthering her progress toward gaining a bachelor degree in optometry, McIntosh returned to the South Cariboo during the summers to work with and job shadow Dr. Neil VanderHorst at 100 Mile Vision Care.

She also volunteered locally with the 100 Mile Lions in their Lions Canada Eyeglass Recycle program, repairing and adjusting the donated spectacles to be shipped to third-world countries.

McIntosh would also be able to complete the “recycling circle” by bringing and distributing the Lions Club eyeglasses she repaired herself.

“It’s really great, especially now that I’m getting to see the glasses go the entire way – from the community donating them, to getting them sorted and verified, and then taking them with me.

“But, I’m also getting to put into practice the skills I am learning in school.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to help McIntosh raise the approximately $1,000 she needs to travel to Nicaragua may drop it off at 100 Mile Vision Care, 122-475 Birch Ave.

“I’m just hoping to raise a bit of money to help cover the cost to travel over there and come back because, it does get kind of expensive to pay for school and then pay for this.”