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Thursday / July 7.
HomeminewsOneSight South African Mission

OneSight South African Mission

An international team of volunteer eye care professionals has reached more than 12,000 underprivileged people in the latest OneSight Foundation mission to a poor township, just outside of the South African city of Pretoria.

Luxxottica’s OneSight Foundation – partnering with the medical foundation Engage Mamelodi – set up an eye screening and testing clinic in the township of Mamelodi, where a quarter of residents suffer from H.I.V. and poverty levels are extremely high.

The Australasian OneSight team made up of seven volunteers, together with 30 other Luxottica teammates from around the world, donated their skills and time to assist with the setting up and running of the eye screening and testing clinic in Mamelodi.

For the first time, volunteers also joined local healthcare professionals on home visits in the township, for patients who were bedridden.

About 75 per cent of blindness in developing countries such as South Africa is easily preventable, and the majority of blindness is due to common conditions that are easily corrected

The volunteers initially aimed to provide eye examinations to 10,000 people over a two-week period in October, however the mission exceeded expectations, with more than 12,000 South Africans taking part in the program.

About 75 per cent of blindness in developing countries such as South Africa is easily preventable, and the majority of blindness is due to common conditions that are easily corrected.

Many of the people in Mamelodi were treated for common eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, trachoma, untreated infections and physical trauma, with a few people being treated for more serious conditions including H.I.V. retinopathy.

More than 15,000 recycled prescription glasses were donated to those in need of vision correction. Each patient also received a free pair of sunglasses. More than 500 patients with serious eye disease were referred to the local area Department of Health for further treatment.

OneSight Foundation’s Manager in Australia, Gina De George, said the rate of poor eye health due to H.I.V. infection in both adults and children from Mamelodi was incredibly high.

Ms De George said trip to South Africa proved the need for specialist eye care skills was crucial and that further South African clinics were planned.

“Over the past two years, Australian OneSight volunteers have screened the eyes of over 37,000 people and that is something of which we can all be proud,” Ms De George said.

Australian OneSight volunteer Anthony Lambrinidis described the two week mission to Mamelodi as a truly life changing experience, saying he was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a difference in the lives of not only sufferers but their families.

OneSight is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the vision for those in need worldwide through outreach, research and education. Over the past 20 years, the Foundation has given the gift of sight to more than seven million people around the world. The Luxottica Group is the major sponsor of the Foundation.

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