“Everything is so clear. I’ll be able to see the blackboard in class properly now.”
These were the first grateful words from 17- year-old homeless Sydney girl Mistie when optometrists from eye care charity OneSight presented her with her very first pair of spectacles.
In fact, Mistie had the privilege of being the seven millionth person to have been tested and presented with glasses from OneSight… a milestone she says she will never forget.
Mistie and 306 other homeless men and women from Sydney had their eyes tested free of charge recently in a three day campaign conducted by OneSight in conjunction with the Salvation Army and the Sydney City Council.
The OneSight Foundation is a global initiative dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education in local communities and is supported by the leading international eye care and eyewear company, Luxottica Group.
Its mission is to help restore and maintain better vision for those who are unable to access basic vision care and has been operating around the world for over 20 years.
More than 250 million people worldwide suffer from poor vision because they are unable to access basic vision care and eyewear. OneSight utilises the specialist skills of 62,000 Luxottica employees in 130 countries to provide free vision care to those who are homeless and disadvantaged and contributes millions of dollars into research and education of eye health issues globally.
Mistie is just one of those many people and it was during the recent Sydney eye screening that Luxottica optometrists Razmeena Hussein and Gina DeGeorge noticed that Mistie was straining to see, so a full eye exam was recommended.
According to Gina DeGeorge, OneSight Foundation Director: “Mistie wasn’t concerned with ‘brand names’, but rather what suited her and looked ‘kind of cool’. Being a young girl, a bit of the latest ‘in’ colour helped also – she chose frames with purple arms and brushed silver metal front. Georgina Preece (optometrist) and I helped her select some frames to suit her colouring and face shape.”
A special OneSight function held at the Salvation Army’s homeless shelter, Foster House and attended by some of Sydney’s homeless who were given their eye wear from the Foundation, as well as representatives of the Salvation Army, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Luxottica CEO Chris Beer.
In her speech, Clover Moore said: “This is a fantastic example of corporate social responsibility in action. And today, I’d like to pay special tribute to those Luxottica staff who have volunteered their services for these screenings.”
Major Marina Randall, the Salvation Army’s community support services adviser told the gathering: “Luxottica, through the OneSight Foundation, has taken up the challenge to really seriously address some of the issues associated with homelessness. They are using more than money – the wonderful Luxottica volunteers have given their talents, training, experience and who they are as persons to this challenge. The service being provided here at this time is more than just a pair of glasses. A real investment has been made into brave lives – it is an investment that actually gives back something of the ability and freedom to reach for full potential. Without the gift of sight, so much of that freedom is restricted. Work, education (especially for youth and children), being able to engage with the wider society on so many levels is enhanced, enriched and enabled when one has the confidence that comes from being able to see clearly.
I know – I well remember the difference my first pair of glasses made to me as a young teenager.”
OneSight Foundation optometrist Luke Cahill explained how the three-day campaign held at Foster House worked:
- Registration – We captured name, date of birth etc. of all participants on our OneSight record card. The optoms/dispensers recorded all details of tests conducted on these cards. These will be retained as a clinical record by the OneSight foundation.
- Screening – All participants were ‘screened’ for; colour vision, stereoscopic vision, habitual distance vision, distance vision with +1.75 & habitual near vision. Pass/ review/not complete criteria were set for each screening test and anyone who didn’t pass or presented with specific visual symptoms were offered full testing.
- Pre-testing – For those requesting full eye exams, pre-testing station included ophthalmoscopy, auto refraction and tonometry.
- Refraction – Three refraction lanes were set up in the centre’s chapel. If needed, spec scripts were dispensed.
- Dispensing – A large selection of modern frames were available for participants. S/V, bifocals and multifocals were dispensed. The jobs were then entered into our regular POS system, computer POS system was set up in the clinic. The completed jobs were available for collection the following day.
A number of participants were referred for further testing, e.g. perimetry, diabetic retinopathy or cataract assessment, etc.