Optometrists taking part in World Sight Days

The optometrists at The Eye Studio and at Red Deer Eye Care will be participating in the World Sight Day challenge Oct. 11-15.

During these days the optometrists involved will match all donations made to help provide eye exams and classes to children in developing countries.

Kevin Hesterman of Red Deer Eye Care said it is an important thing for people to be aware there are places in the world where eye care is not as available as it is here in Canada.

“I ask people if they can imagine living their life without access to glasses and it’s pretty profound for those who don’t have great eye sight.”

Jason Holtom of The Eye Studio echoed Hesterman when he said the number one reason people donate is because they know how hard it would be to get by without their own eyeglasses.

The fundraiser has been run for the past five years at both offices and Hesterman and Holtom both said patients who are booked for the dates come in and inquire about the signage. “I think for the most part patients have no idea in advance. They walk in and see something different and we explain what we’re doing,” said Holtom.

Hesterman said his office asks for a donation along with an eyeglass purchase or if patients are getting their glasses adjusted which is usually a free service.

“Also, if patients donate $2 or more we put their name in for a draw for a television,” said Hesterman.

Optometry Giving Sight will disperse funds raised to projects in 16 countries within Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Holtom said it’s remarkable that just $5 can provide an eye examination and a pair of glasses for someone in a developing country.

Hesterman explained that the World Sight Days Challenge is promoted through the World Optometry Foundation.

“We also donate old glasses to people in developing countries who don’t have access to eye care.”

Another goal for the World Optometry Foundation is to continue setting up eye care clinics in developing countries where locals can gain access to examinations and eyeglasses. “We all feel privileged to live in Canada and to have access to the eye care that we do,” said Hesterman.

Last year Red Deer Eye Care raised $2,600 and The Eye Studio $500. This year Holtom at The Eye Studio said they would like to raise more than $1,200 for the cause.

The Eye Studio will match any donation made and Holtom said that with the different campaigns they have run they are excited to potentially surpass their fundraising goal.

“For us it’s important because we deal with eyes all the time. When you donate your time or money you know you’re doing something good and you feel rewarded,” said Holtom. “Something as simple as $5 can change what somebody sees. It’s not a lot of money to help a lot of people.”