HUNDREDS of Cambodians are now able to see more clearly thanks to the generosity and dedication of a small team of volunteers.

A university lecturer joined a medical mission to Battambang to help improve country’s healthcare through a transform Healthcare Cambodia mission.

Ally Sanderson, from Darlington, called on Specsavers, Polam Hall school and her family, friends and work colleagues, to donate more than 700 pairs of glasses.

Whist there, the ophthalmic nurse and senior lecturer in adult nursing at Teesside University shared her clinical skills and expertise with staff at the Battambang Referral Hospital.

“The clinics were really popular,” she said. “We didn’t stop all day. We had patients queuing out the building.”

Ms Sanderson and the team of NHS staff ran eye clinics throughout the week at the hospital and in rural community clinics, giving away hundreds of free glasses free of charge to patients to help aid any visual impairments or refractive errors they had.

She added: “To see so many happy faces after they’d had their eyes tested and had been fitted out with their new glasses and to tell us that they’re vision had already improved, was a great feeling. I’m just pleased to have been able to help.

“At the beginning of the week, while we were being shown around the hospital, we met a 70 year old gentleman on the emergency ward who was a retired teacher and loved to read.

“In Cambodia the diagnosis, management and care of people with diabetes is a major health issue but is hugely under resourced and inadequate. In rural Battambang Province there is limited knowledge about diabetes and is often diagnosed late, particularly in men, if at all.

“Unfortunately, for this gentleman, his diabetes diagnosis came too late. He told us he had lost all feeling in his foot and stood, on what he thinks was a rusty nail. Infection set in, resulting in his leg having to be amputated.

“I returned to see him on our last day and after a consultation by his bedside on the emergency ward, I was able to fit him out with a new pair of reading specs and some sunglasses too to help reduce glare from his cataract.

“The gentleman was delighted and told me how much better his vision was and how much he was looking forward to taking up his passion of reading again. To hear that was a great feeling.”

The trip was the eighth time the charity has sent teams of NHS doctors, nurses, midwives, medical and nursing students out to Cambodia to support their healthcare colleagues in Cambodia.

Graham Jones, a senior lecturer at Teeside University and director of the charity who led the team to Battambang said: “The whole team were incredible.

“Not only do they help share their clinical knowledge with their Khmer healthcare colleagues, but they also give up their time for free, using their own holidays and self fund their own trips.”

To find out more about Transform Healthcare Cambodia visit: