How to volunteer remotely

1 February 2024
Winter 2024

Volunteering from your own home allows optometrists to contribute their skills and experience while fitting it around other commitments, writes Kellie Smith.

Around 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment – a huge financial burden on the global economy, with the annual cost estimated to be £335bn (World Health Organization, 2023). In the UK, two million people are living with sight loss, including 340,000 who are registered blind or partially sighted (RNIB, 2021). One way that UK-based optometrists can ease this burden is by volunteering from their own home. 

According to research from Nottingham Trent University (2021), when the pandemic broke out, two in five (39%) voluntary organisations increased the number of volunteer roles that could be carried out remotely. 

These organisations include Vision Action, a charity supporting governments in Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zambia to deliver and strengthen their eye health strategies. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, Vision Action set up teams of remote volunteers to develop training materials in refraction, low vision and paediatric optometry. 

Beyond the pandemic, the organisation still has optometrists and dispensing opticians supporting it to develop training materials from home.

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