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Saturday / April 13.
HomemibusinessThe Aussie Way

The Aussie Way

In the wake of devastating floods, Australian consumers and businesses have proven their endless generosity. As we move forward, it’s timely to consider the most appropriate ways in which the optical industry can make a difference to those who are less fortunate.

If there is one thing the recent devastating floods have taught us, it’s that Australians will always step up and help others when it’s a cause they believe in.

For thousands of people, the beginning of 2011 has been unbearably hard, with lives snatched from loved ones, homes wrecked, livelihoods destroyed and irreplaceable photos and personal possessions lost.

One news reporter compared the floods to the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but he highlighted a major difference. Instead of looting and crime, Queenslanders pulled together and helped each other out. In fact, people from all over Australia reached out to the people affected and have offered support – financial and practical. Even when the going is tough and the economic climate isn’t great, Australians dig deep to help someone in need – someone they can relate to.

As optometrists, it is our responsibility to ensure that every person around the world has access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

Giving makes people feel good – it’s a positive, warm feeling. For many customers, knowing a business is charitably minded builds loyalty and raises the business in the customers’ eyes. The Society of Human Resource Management reported that 83 per cent of people surveyed have a more positive image of companies that support a cause they care about1.

Relating to a Cause

Being able to relate to a cause is often the reason someone will make the decision to donate. If you or a family member has suffered cancer, you may choose to support the Cancer Council; if you are passionate about cats, the Cat Protection Society might be your charity of choice. Or possibly, having chosen to spend your working life helping people to see, a charity, such as Optometry Giving Sight, that focuses on your professional passion is your choice.

Many people who work in the optometry profession and industry need some type of vision correction – often their personal experience with an optometrist is what first interested them in the area. For an optometrist’s patient, vision correction is close to their heart. They understand the importance of good vision as much as their eye care professional. Whether their glasses or contact lenses enable them to do their job, drive a car, read a book or see the white board in school, vision correction is immensely relevant to them.

Optometry Giving Sight

As Optometry’s International Charity of Choice, Optometry Giving Sight relies solely on donations from the optical profession and industry. Optometry Giving Sight was set up with the premise that correcting refractive error was optometry’s core business and therefore something that those working in optometry would feel passionate about.

Speaking of the profession’s important role in the community, optometrist Bob Lees, Chair of Optometry Giving Sight in Australia said: “The fact that 670 million people around the world can’t see to work, care for their families, learn at school or retain their independence in later life is a travesty.

“As optometrists, it is our responsibility to ensure that every person around the world has access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses. We must work together to fund the long-term solution – the training of local eye care professionals and the development of infrastructure, such as schools of optometry and vision centres through which eye care can be delivered.”

Jo Humphries is the Communications Manager for Optometry Giving Sight. Jo has over nine years experience working with eye care charitable organisations and is passionate about eye health in developing countries.

Say YEStoday

Optometry Giving Sight invites optometrists to seize the moment and Say YEStoday.

Say YEStoday by:

  • Making a donation and/or
  • Inviting your patients to make a donation and ‘buy a brick’ to add to the Vision Centre poster in your practice.

Talk to your practice staff and if they would like to help raise funds through the practice by displaying a ‘vision centre poster’ and donation tin, request a poster (both small and large posters are available) online at www.givingsight.org or by calling (AUS) 1300 88 10 73

Rani’s Story

Juggling work and motherhood is never an easy task so working as a seamstress from home in rural Sri Lanka, meant that Rani could care for her young children while providing an important source of income for her family. Rani knew her eye sight was deteriorating but when she couldn’t see to thread the needle while teaching her oldest daughter to sew, she worried that she would lose her job.

Rani visited the Vision Center in the rural town of Warakapola where Vision Technician, Niroshan, examined her eyes and provided the glasses she needed. “Glasses will make it easy for my work”, exclaimed Rani as she saw clearly with her new glasses.

It’s thanks to the contributions made to Optometry Giving Sight, that people like Rani are now able to support their families.