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Sunday / July 14.
HomeminewsThousands Unite for World Sight Day Challenge

Thousands Unite for World Sight Day Challenge

Whether it was ‘Highballs for Eyeballs’, Optoms Cycling for Sight’, a bake-off, comedy night or a conference, optometrists, optical students, staff and patients around the world, got into the spirit of World Sight Day and took the challenge to raise funds.

Ron Baroni, Australian country manager for Optometry Giving Sight said the combined effort, which will help fund international sustainable eye care projects, was inspiring.

“We want to thank everyone who has participated with such enthusiasm in 2012…
it is wonderful to see such a unifying movement throughout the industry and the exciting and creative ideas on how to raise urgently needed funds.”

The many stories that trickled through from around Australia demonstrated tremendous generosity, including one from Sure Optical in Gosford, NSW where optometrist Amanda Rungis and her team held their inaugural ‘Highballs for Eyeballs’ cocktail night.

In Singapore, more than 250 underprivileged seniors in Singapore received free eye screening and glasses as part of Optometry Giving Sight,

Ms. Rungis said money was raised through a grand prize raffle, silent auctions and ‘balloon raffles’. The highlight of the evening was a special cocktail that the ReviveR bar created for the event, called the Green Eyed Girl, which will only ever be available on World Sight Day.

Sure Optical raised an impressive AUD$3,726, which at the time of going to print, was leading the practice Challenge in Australia.

Student Challenge

At the beginning of November, Australian optometry students led the charge in the World Sight Day Student Challenge which involves 20 optometry schools from around the globe.

Combining efforts from the City2Surf, selling chocolates, barbeques and bake sales, as well as a comedy night, students from University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne and Deakin University raise a combined AUD$15,154 – almost AUD$3,500 more than in 2011.

Company Challenges

Tony Hanks of Eyecare Plus, recently presented Ron Baroni with a cheque to the value of AUD$10,000 for the World Sight Day Challenge. The donation was made at the Eyecare Plus national conference, and is in addition to fundraising efforts from individual practices.

Gold national sponsor, General Optical donated AUD$14,694 which was raised across the year and Essilor generously committed to matching the donation from the highest practice in Australia. The winning practice will also gain exclusive access to the services of Professional Services Manager and optometrist, Helen Venturato, for a week. The practice will be able to use Ms. Venturato’s time for training, optometric support or just an additional ‘pair of experienced hands’ during one of the busiest periods of the year.

Overseas Challenges

In the United States Transitions launched a ‘Sight of the Day’ photo contest and a small donation was made for every photo submitted, which resulted in a donation of AUD$50,000 donation. Over 175,000 photos were assembled at the Florida State Fair on World Sight Day to beat the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photo mosaic in history. The photo, in the shape of an eye, was a masterpiece.

In Singapore, more than 250 underprivileged seniors in Singapore received free eye screening and glasses as part of an event organised by Optometry Giving Sight, to mark the day.

The screenings tested for pathology and refraction, and were coordinated with the support of the optometry departments of Manchester University, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and Singapore Optometric Association. Spectacles were prescribed and provided free of charge to those in need.

Birthday Commitment

At a birthday celebration on World Sight Day at Parliament House in Canberra, Dr. Barry Jones, in his role as Chair of the eye health and vision care peak body, asked the Australian Government to commit AUD$35 million to eye health promotion.

Birthday guests including the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP and federal MPs showed support for Dr. Jones’ hope by signing a giant card promising to join the fight to tackle avoidable blindness and the impact of vision loss.