Giving back to our communities both locally and abroad is part of our DNA. Our optometrists are driven daily by their mission to transform people’s lives through vision.
Many optometrists in our network volunteer their services to provide much needed eye care in third world countries and remote Australian communities. We give back locally through widespread sponsorship of schools, sporting clubs and other associations. We also support our charity of choice Optometry Giving Sight – both financially and by personally volunteering eye care services in underprivileged communities such as Indonesia, El Salvador and Sri Lanka.
What is Optometry Giving Sight?
Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fundraising initiative that works tirelessly on the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error. In simple terms this means that they can be corrected with an eye test 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.
Optometry Giving Sight and their volunteers provide support by mobilising resources from the global optical community and training local eye care professionals so that they can deliver eye care and low cost glasses in sustainable vision centres in the future.
Developing Eye Care in Sumba
Sumba is a small island situated north of Darwin and is part of Indonesia. It hosts a population of 670,000 people but for a long time there has been no optometric presence on the island. Peter Stewart OAM and Peter Lewis OAM (two members of the ProVision community) have partnered with Dr Mark Ellis AM and the Australian Ophthalmologists to develop the Sumba Eye Program, visiting twice yearly to bring proper eye care to this unique little country.
Many more members of the ProVision community as well as practice staff and family members have joined them to do this important work over the years. Since their first trip in 2007 they have seen nearly 10,000 patients, carried out around 750 surgical procedures and supplied about 8,500 pairs of spectacles. With an initial focus on service provision, over time the program has increased its focus on teaching and training of Indonesian health personnel in an effort to help establish a sustainable local infrastructure for eye care in Sumba.
Meet Sumba’s local nurses
Nefri and Sani are the two eye care nurses that help keep the Sumba Eye Program running in between visits and who will eventually become mentors and trainers for other local eye care nurses. They recently visited Australia for training that enhanced their skills and reputation in delivering eye correction and health to the local Sumbanese. During their visit they discussed the challenges they face in delivering eye care throughout Sumba. Not only is the country one of Indonesia’s poorest nations but its citizens are spread throughout difficult to reach rural regions. Despite all this, it’s clear that these committed nurses are up to the challenge, doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
Values that unite us
Giving back to the community is just one of the values that sets our group of independently-owned optometrists apart from the rest.
If you would like to make a donation to Optometry Giving Sight and help establish more projects like this please go to givingsight.org or donate by phone on 1300 88 10 73.