A world where avoidable blindness and vision loss due simply to the lack of a pair of eye glasses no longer threaten the quality-of-life and future livelihood of children and adults because there is universal access to quality vision and eye care services for all those in need.
The Australian based program
Transitions Optical Australia and New Zealand is working in partnership with Optometry Giving Sight and practising optometrists to deliver a program focusing on the important issue of early detection of vision problems in children and education of the importance of eye health.
Optometrists Association of Australia estimates 1 in 4 Australian children are affected by undetected vision problems which can have a negative influence on education and learning. The most effective way to detect these conditions is with regular eye health examinations.
Eye Didn’t Know That! will offer free vision screening in selected schools across Australia for 5-8 year old children whose parents may not be able to afford eye care. Children who are found to need a full eye examination are referred to their local optometrist and given an Eye Didn’t Know That! Vision Voucher which entitles them to free prescription Transitions® branded lenses and children’s frames should they need correction.
In addition to providing eye care, the program reaches out to communities including teachers, parents and other children and shares the important message of eye health and regular eye exams.
Eye Didn’t Know That! was successfully piloted with vision screenings in South Australian primary schools in 2013. In 2014, the program has been rolled out in Sydney’s western suburbs to deliver vision screenings to approximately 1,500 children.
With your support and donations we hope to bring the program to many more schools and children across Australia.
Optometry rising in Sri Lanka
With the introduction of the first optometry degree program scheduled for later this year, and the ongoing development of vision centres in remote districts and provinces, eye care in Sri Lanka is gradually becoming recognised by the government as a crucial part of the country’s health care sector and an important profession in the Sri Lankan job market.
Niroshan is an outstanding example of the impact that funding from Optometry Giving Sight has had in the country. Since his training as a Vision Technician in 2008, he has been working at the Warakapola Vision Centre and has now performed eye examinations on more than 12,000 patients.
“Most of the people in these communities lack eye health awareness or basic vision care education so when they hear about our clinic they come to us with life-long, untreated eye conditions including refractive error,” he said.
According to Niroshan, many people in Sri Lanka unknowingly have vision impairment thr
ough refractive errors. It is very common for young children to have eye conditions which are avoidable with earlier treatment, and they can lead to a stifled or incomplete education and divergent career paths. A sad fact is that many parents do not even know their children are having problems with their sight.
“I recently treated a young girl who was suffering from eye strain and frontal lobe headaches. I examined her and found she was suffering from severe myopia and keratoconus. I prescribed her a pair of spectacles. Several months later I heard that she had passed her exams and managed to get into the university of her choice. She had previously given up on her goal of tertiary education because of her difficulties in seeing and her headaches. I will never forget that. This is why this program is so important for our country and the future of eye care here,” he said.
Niroshan is an outstanding advocate for the emerging profession of optometry, and a regular participant in outreach programs that are funded by Ministry of Health and coordinated by Vision 2020 program. He is enthusiastically building on his initial training, and has recently completed a two and half year Advanced Diploma course in Optometry at the Sri Lanka Foundation. He will no doubt be an early applicant
to the new degree program – watch this space!!
The Development of Optometry Training Program in Sri Lanka is being developed by Brien Holden Vision Institute in partnership with the Institute for Human Resource Advancement at the University of Colombo. The Vision Centres in the Kegalle District of Sri Lanka are implemented by Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Ministry of Health. Part funding for both projects is provided by Optometry Giving Sight.
Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error – simply the need for an eye exam and a pair of glasses. More than 600 million people around the world are blind or vision impaired because they do not have access to the eye examination and glasses they need. Your donations allow Optometry Giving Sight to fund the solution by supporting programs that:
· Train – local eye care professionals and;
· Establish – vision centres for sustainability to;
· Deliver – eye care and low cost glasses
Sight is the most treasured of our five senses. We see the world and its myriad of colours and shapes through the windows of our eyes. We learn with them. We laugh with them. We communicate with them. We provide for our families with them. We see our loved ones with them.
Sight can make the difference between a life of poverty and a life of opportunity.
In 2003, the World Council of Optometry, the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation (formerly ICEE) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness created Optometry Giving Sight to mobilize resources from the global optometric community to help eliminate refractive error blindness and low vision.
Optometry Giving Sight was first launched in the UK in 2003, followed by Australia and the Netherlands in 2004, the United States and Canada in 2005, and Italy in 2006. In 2009, Optometry Giving Sight launched in Norway, Singapore and Ireland.
Optometry Giving Sight supports of the goals of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, an initiative of the World Health and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. VISION 2020 aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020, in order to give all people in the world the right to sight.
Optometrists, opticians, their staff and patients, optical companies and their staff support Optometry Giving Sight by making donations and raising funds in their practices and work places.
To get involved or donate click here.