Point Cook optometrist Marlene Boulos is not used to seeing her patients burst into tears of happiness.
But this happened earlier this month, when she travelled to Sri Lanka with a group of volunteers to conduct a charity eye-care outreach program in remote villages.
Ms Boulos said she and the other volunteers met a Sri Lankan woman who could not see very well and could not afford to buy glasses.
“We tested her eyes and gave her glasses, she was so grateful,” Ms Boulos said.
“She burst into tears and it just made it all worth it, for us.”
Ms Boulos, 23, graduated from university last year and works at Specsavers in Point Cook.
She decided to join the trip to Sri Lanka after seeing a Facebook post by the Global Hand Charity organisation calling for volunteers.
Ms Boulos and 11 other volunteers spent a week in Sri Lanka, conducting eye tests and giving glasses to people unable to access, or afford, them.
“The trip was amazing, it was really, really good,” Ms Boulos said.
“We saw more than 2000 patients and gave out more than 2500 pairs of glasses.
“What surprised me most was how patient people were. There were big lines and they had to wait hours to see us, but everyone was so grateful and patient.”
The trip was organised by Global Hand Charity, the University of Melbourne, Acacia Prison in Western Australia (where recycled spectacles are reconditioned) and the Rotary Clubs of Sri Lanka.