Pre-Optometry Study Abroad Opportunity

Dear Optometrists, Optometry students, and especially Pre-Optometry students,

As a little background before you begin reading, I’m a second year student at St. John’s University in the seven year program with SUNY Optometry.  I want to introduce to you International Service Learning ( In short, ISL sends medical and educational volunteer teams to several under-served populations in Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, and more.  There are teams set specifically for pre-medical, dental, public health, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinary, and PRE-OPTOMETRY STUDENTS.

For those who are interested in pursuing a career in optometry, you’d probably know that study abroad opportunities tailored specifically for optometry are extremely hard to find.

As of now, I’m recruiting an optometry team at St. John’s, destination Costa Rica between December 27th and January 8th.

The cost will be $1,870 and will cover the following from December 27th 2010 – January 8th 2011 while in Costa Rica…

  • Two meals a day
  • Travel expenses while in the country
  • Prescription medications and supplies for clinics
  • Student lodging and staffing costs (translators, doctors, team leaders, cooks, etc)
  • This will not cover round trip airfare to the destination
  • There is financial aid available through Good Samaritan Missions sponsorship program to help reduce trip cost.

We will be under the direction and supervision of eye care professionals of Costa Rica.  Optometric field triage training using non-invasive exam and/or screening techniques will be performed with respect to:

  • visual acuity
  • refractive error (myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia)
  • color vision anomaly
  • binocular vision
  • general eye disease and/or injury
  • Pterygium screening

Several eye screening protocols will be learned and used including but not limited to cover test, EOM testing, pin hole occluder screening and students will have the potential to learn a variety of other tests from the on site eye care professionals.

Optometric public health training will include general eye health and safety presentations.  Students will also receive basic introductions to eye anatomy, function, and common sight problems. We will also participate in setting up local Vision Fairs as a public health service to offer free screenings (see protocols above).

If you are an optometrist who is interested in joining us, we want you!  In any case, if ISL is something you’d be interested in/serious about going, feel free to shoot me back an email so we could keep in touch before we embark on this exciting journey.

Click here to e-mail me for more information


Eric Chow
St. John’s University 2012
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences- Biology (7 year program with SUNY Optometry)

img credit: threefingers

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