Grandview resident Nate Osterman will be traveling to Ghana in January to serve as a volunteer with the Unite for Sight program.

Grandview resident Nate Osterman will be traveling to Ghana in January to serve as a volunteer with the Unite for Sight program.

Osterman, a senior zoology/pre-optometry major at Ohio State and 2006 graduate of Grandview Heights High School, will spend four weeks in Ghana with other volunteers.

Unite for Sight is a nonprofit organization that provides eye care services and surgeries to people living in developing countries.

"A lot of people in these countries don't have enough money to pay for the eye care they need," Osterman said.

Africa has only one ophthalmologist for every one million people, he said. The shortage of eye care professionals means many people in Africa's developing nations risk losing their sight to curable blindness, Osterman said.

While in Ghana, Osterman will administer test screenings for patients at Unite for Sight clinics.

"I'll be doing things like administering the eye chart test and the glaucoma test," he said. "I'll also have the opportunity to observe some eye surgeries being conducted, which should be a great learning experience for me."

Unite for Sight requires its volunteers to earn first aid certification and be certified to administer eye tests, Osterman said.

He and the Unite for Sight volunteers will be stationed in rural areas of Ghana during their month-long stay, he said. Once a week, the volunteers will take an overnight trip to a village.

"It's a great opportunity to help make a difference," he said. "I'm at an age, 21, when I don't have a lot of commitments and I can volunteer to make this kind of trip. I think more people my age ought to think about doing something like this."

Osterman said his family has always traveled and an aunt and uncle both spent time volunteering in Africa.

"It's a place I've always been interested in visiting," he said.

As part of Unite for Sight duties, Osterman is working to raise $1,500, all of which will be used by the organization to purchase eye care equipment and fund eye surgeries in Africa.

He is sending letters to ophthalmologist offices around Columbus seeking contributions, he said.

Anyone interested in making a donation to Unite for Sight can send a check, made out to the organization, to Osterman's attention at 1384 Lincoln Road, Columbus 43212.

In addition to raising money, Osterman is also seeking to collect 300 used pairs of eyeglasses that will be distributed by Unite for Sight. He is planning to set up collection boxes at local grocery stores and other sites throughout Columbus.

Those wanting more information about Unite for Sight should check out the organization's Web site, uniteforsight.org or e-mail Osterman at Osterman.10@osu.edu.

"I'm really looking forward to this trip. Africa will be a totally different experience from Grandview and Columbus," Osterman said. "I think it's going to be an incredible opportunity to help others.

"I think I'll learn a lot about the field of optometry and about Ghana and its people," he said. "I hope to learn a lot about myself as well."