Young Saudi optometrist Al-Balawi excited over her 60-hour volunteer work in Nigeria


October 14, 2021

Optometrist Nouf Al-Balawi

RIYADH — Young Saudi optometrist Nouf Al-Balawi is just excited over getting an opportunity to offer altruist voluntary services for the poor people in Nigeria.

She had spent 60 hours in the volunteer medical program to combat blindness in Nigeria, as a member of the field team of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), according to a report in Al-Arabiya channel.

Al-Balawi, a senior optometrist, represented Saudi women by providing their humanitarian services through conducting more than 70 eye tests in a mission that involved tedious and arduous journeys in the African country.

“The aim of my participation in this voluntary mission was to lend a helping hand for this poor segment of the society. Volunteering is an innate human thing and my role in the campaign was to perform visual tests before and after eye operations,” she said.

She noted that the tests included determining the size of the eye lens that is implanted during the operation, as well as examining the retina through an ultrasound device.

“It is an ecstatic feeling when we see the smile and joy of the elderly, who are suffering from blurred vision due to cataracts. We distributed eye glasses among a number of patients after they regained their vision following the operation,” she said.

Referring to her experience, Al-Balawi said that they faced some hardships during their one-week long volunteer mission.

“It took two hours from the city to reach a village where there is no electricity or water, and its residents were in dire need of eye care and services.

“When we examined people with vision problems, we found four elderly people suffering from cataracts.”

“The next day they came to the hospital where we did tests for them in preparation for the operations that conducted on the same day,” Al-Balawi said.

She added, “Volunteering in Nigeria was my first experience, and I am currently preparing for another similar campaign in another African country so as to expand smiles spreading over faces of more poor people.”

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