Eye diseases and visual disorders span all age groups and contribute to major public health problems in our community. According to the World Health Organization estimates the number of blind people worldwide will double by 2020. The aim of this service learning subject is to engage Polytechnic University students across all disciplines to involve in direct activities to benefit identified under-privileged communities, with the hope that we can help in the prevention of global blindness. Through this introductory-level course, students will gain increased awareness of this major public health issue, learn to appreciate specific strategies in its prevention and control, and to provide active outreach services to help minimize this growing strain on our economic and health care systems.
In this subject, we aim to integrate community services with students’ learning opportunities. Students of other discipline will be given an opportunity to work in groups with optometry students and to organize and implement a vision screening project by themselves under the supervision of optometrists. By means of this subject, they can act as community service providers, as well as (care), work and communicate with various disciplines to bring together knowledge they have acquired during their university studies, and then share and apply their special interests with others. The project not only benefits service users, but also provides a very structured environment for students to gain experience working with a number of people in different levels of the community and to better understand societal needs, especially in this major public health concern of blindness prevention. This is in-line with PolyU’s motto “To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind”.