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HomeminewsOptical Community Unites to Support Bushfire Victims

Optical Community Unites to Support Bushfire Victims

Members of the optical community have united to support people and practices across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia who have been affected by devastating bushfires.

Practices, suppliers and Associations, large and small, have stepped up over the past months to offer their support, and while we have done our best to mention as many as possible here, there are no doubt many others.

a Volunteer Disaster Relief Leave program has been set in place for employees that are active volunteers and availing their services to impacted regions, and for individuals who are experiencing harsh circumstances as a result of the wildfires

Rebuilding East Gippsland

Optical laboratory, CR Surfacing Laboratories, in collaboration with volunteer-based organisation, BlazeAid, will work to rebuild fire-affected communities in East Gippsland, Victoria.

BlazeAid works with communities after natural disasters to help rebuild damaged or destroyed properties and structures. CR Surfacing is currently arranging a group of volunteers to join BlazeAid in Bruthen, Victoria from 21-23 February. There are also plans for volunteers to be involved with ongoing projects.

Visit: https://blazeaid.com.au/

If your practice is being effected by bushfires, we encourage you to contact your suppliers or the suppliers named here, to discuss options that are available to help you get through the coming months.

Suppliers Working With Independent Practices

During December 2019, Eyecare Plus at Forster, Taree and Gloucester, supported by Hoya, Rim Optics and Tigervision, offered to replace lost glasses for bushfire victims of northern NSW prior to Christmas. Contact Eyecare Plus (AUS) 02 9315 2900, Hoya Lens (AUS) 02 9698 1577, Rim Optics (AUS) 03 8552 7900 and Tiger Vision (AUS) 02 9569 2988.

On 3 January, Rodenstock and Hannaford Eyewear in the NSW Southern Highlands town of Bowral, announced they would provide replacement glasses to bushfire victims who have lost their homes and/or possessions, and to firefighters who have lost or had their spectacles damaged as a result of fighting the fires. Rodenstock is also working with other practices in fire affected communities to offer complete Rodenstock spectacles, frames and lenses to patients in need. Contact Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988. Hannaford Eyewear can be reached on (AUS) 02 4861 4369.

AFT Pharmaceuticals and Good Optical Services provided Hylofresh drops to volunteers from the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Southern Highlands team. Contact AFT Pharmaceuticals (AUS) 02 9420 0420 and Good Optical Services (AUS) 03 9645 1066.

For some time now, ProOptics has been sending ‘care boxes’ of Empire New York frames to drought affected and now bushfire affected customers to offer customers in need. Additionally, ProOptics is offering extended terms to all practices affected by fires. Contact ProOptics (AUS) 02 8007 6041.

OptiqueLine is offering practices complimentary eyewear from its Gemini ranges to any person affected by the bushfires. Additionally, the company is donating a total of AU$10,000 to Red Cross and Wires. Call (AUS) 03 9853 0796.

Sunshades has made a donation, on behalf of every staff member, to the Red Cross and 100% of profits from a full week’s trading at its Le Specs online store are being donated to Wires. Additionally, employees contributed to a significant delivery of consumer staple goods, which were delivered to the Batlow Town Hall in New South Wales for distribution to fire affected individuals and families. Call (AUS) 02) 8303 7300.

RimOptics has been sending out bushfire relief packages, consisting of assorted free optical frames, to all customers located in or near bushfire affected areas, as ascertained from apps such as the Fires Near Me mobile apps. The company has also posted on its social media sites for any customers who are affected and have not received a package to request one from head office. With the devastation far from being over, RimOptics says the support program is ongoing. Call (AUS) 03 8552 7900.

Gelflex is helping practices to care for patients and emergency services personnel who have had their contact lenses lost or damaged as a result of the bush fires. Call (AUS) 03 9792 3127 to discuss options.

Essilor is working with local optometrists in and around impacted communities, to provide free replacement lenses to patients who have lost or damaged their lenses due to the bushfire activity.

Additionally, to support the relief and recovery efforts nationwide, Essilor has announced that it will make an initial donation of $70,000. This donation will be distributed between the Australian Red Cross, WIRES and World Wildlife Fund. In addition, for every pair of lenses sold to independent optometry during the month of January 2020, Essilor will donate a further $1.00 to the Australian Red Cross. Essilor has invited its customers to match this contribution and donate directly to the abovementioned charities.

Lastly, over four weeks in January, Essilor will match every dollar that employees donate to the Australian Red Cross through its Workplace Giving Program, up to $50,000. For more information visit www.essilor.com.au.

Safilo is offering extended payment terms to practices that are bushfire affected, on a case by case basis. Call (AUS) 02 9540 0500 to find out more.

VSP Australia is making a significant contribution to the bushfire appeal. While details are to be advised, the company is already offering financial assistance to practices that have been forced to close or evacuate, as well as those that have suffered from significant fire damage, including loss of power and lost revenue. Contact your VSP Account Manager.

CooperVision is offering affected patients and bushfire fighters three months’ supply of CooperVision product at no charge. Additionally the company is supporting practices affected by the fire with extended payment terms where needed. Contact your CooperVision Account Manager.

Hoya is supporting practices whose patients are affected by offering a bushfire replacement spectacle scheme. Additionally, the company is making a donation to the Country Fire Association of Victoria and NSW Rural Fire Service as well as to WIRES.

Hoya is also supporting staff who are involved in fund raising activities for the bushfire appeal.“We recognise that we are only part way through the season – our support is not a set and forget, it will be ongoing,” said Krista Hoey, Marketing Manager at Hoya Lens Australia. Contact your Hoya Account Manager.

Zeiss is working with its practices and communities affected by the bushfires and is giving free lenses to those who have lost their glasses due to the fires – whether it is the fire fighters or individuals. Contact your Zeiss Account Manager.

Corporates Step Up

In December 2019, Specsavers donated $18,000 to The Salvation Army’s Disaster Appeal, to support communities that had been affected by the devastating bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland before Christmas.

Since then, the organisation has pledged $5 from every sale in January, up to $100,000, which will be split across several local organisations including the NSW Rural Fire Service, Victorian Bushfire Relief Appeal, SA State Emergency Relief Fund and the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal.

Charles Hornor Director of Communications said in addition to these donations, Specsavers optical stores will provide immediate support to fire affected communities by providing replacement frames and lenses for customers directly affected by the fires. Stores with audiology services will also provide replacement hearing aid batteries and hearing aids to impacted customers.

“The entire Specsavers team is unified by the will to support those impacted. Our thoughts are with all communities, inspirational firefighters, volunteers and families affected by the horrific bushfires across Australia,” said Mr Hornor. Visit www.spectrum-anz.com.

Luxottica (which includes OPSM, Sunglass Hut, Laubman & Pank, Ray-Ban and Oakley) has announced that it will donate $100,000, with funds to be split evenly between the Australia Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and WIRES Wildlife Rescue.

Over four weeks, Luxottica is matching every dollar that employees individually donate through a salary sacrifice scheme, up to $50,000.

Additionally, Luxottica continues to provide service, eye care and support to the local communities affected, as well as to the services providers that. In partnership with One Sight, OPSM is offering assistance with replacement spectacles – Vision Vouchers are available at OPSM and Laubman & Pank stores, and the Salvation Army (Tel. 1300 371 288) in affected areas. OPSM contacted emergency services to offer lubricating eye drops for distribution from major evacuation points in fire-affected areas.

Peter Murphy, Director of Eyecare and Community at Luxottica said the organisation “remains committed to helping communities battling bushfires and those who are now faced with the challenge of rebuilding their livelihoods. For this reason, a Volunteer Disaster Relief Leave program has been set in place for employees that are active volunteers and availing their services to impacted regions, and for individuals who are experiencing harsh circumstances as a result of the wildfires.” Visit www.visionservices.com.au.

Association Support

Optometry Australia’s state divisions have been keeping in contact with members in bushfire affected areas, offering ongoing support and reiterating that the broader membership is keen to assist should they require anything over the coming weeks and months. Members, their families and communities can access the LifeWorks crisis support line – Optometry Australia’s Employee Assistance Program provider. Lyn Brodie, CEO at Optometry Australia says, “Optometry Australia has considered other ways to support bushfire victims and concluded that the best option for our members is to make a financial contribution to recognised charities, until members in the bushfire regions alert us to any other assistance they might require”. Visit www.optometry.org.au.

The Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ODMA) has pledged a donation of $10,000 and has asked its members to vote on which of four organisations the money should be donated to (Red Cross Disaster & Relief Recovery, Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal, RSPCA Bushfire Appeal or WIRES).

“We are giving our subscribers and supporters the chance to decide to whom we donate the funds, by voting at www.surveymonkey.com/r/bushappealodma,” said Finola Carey, CEO at ODMA.

Offering Assistance?

If you’d like to advise the optometry community of how you are helping people and practices affected by bushfires, please email [email protected]