Two local optometrists are leading a campaign to raise funds and awareness for the World Sight Day Challenge before World Sight Day on Oct. 9th.
Drs. Jason Holtom and Tedra Kindropp of Red Deer’s The Eye Studio have been passing knowledge to their customers and clients for six years in the name of the global charity Optometry Giving Sight.
“My wife and I have gone on eye exam mission trips in third world countries and we have seen the good that these trips can bring. We have gone and given eye exams and glasses and treatment to these people and it’s really rewarding,” said Holtom.
“Up here in Canada we have health care that can provide things like regular eye exams and corrective lenses but in those countries, there simply is nothing like that. You see some people who can’t walk or cook – who basically can’t be part of their community – because they can’t see.”
Holtom said that a $5 donation provides a full eye exam and a pair of glasses to someone in need. He says that it is meaningful to people because there is tangible proof of what his or her donation provides to someone in need.
“Basically, for four weeks leading up to World Sight Day we promote the cause in our office. On Oct. 9th, we typically like to have some goodies like Timbits and coffee and have balloons to try and create a party atmosphere,” said Holtom.
He added he and his staff are making sure that their clients are aware of the cause and when they come into the office, they are given some information about Operation Giving Sight and the World Sight Day Challenge.
The aim of Operation Giving Sight is to address preventable sight issues or blindness that could be corrected with a simple pair of glasses. World Sight Day as a global initiative aims this year to focus on the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to the simple need for an eye exam and glasses.
Holtom provided some examples of what funding is used for. A $5 donation would provide an eye examination and a pair of glasses to a person in need and $50 can provide a study kit to an optometry student.
One hundred dollars could provide 20 people with access to an eye exam and glasses. Businesses who are looking to sponsor might consider a $1,200 donation, which would pay a month’s salary for an optometrist to provide exams for up to 40 patients a day.
To participate in the challenge, a one-time or monthly donation can be made in person at Red Deer’s The Eye Studio. All funds collected go to Optometry Giving Sight and to the World Sight Day Challenge.
“Our goal has always been minimum of $500, but we’re shooting for $1,000 if we can. We’ve always met our goal before.
“It’s really cool to see what a pair of glasses can do for someone. I think that because I have seen it first hand, it resonates with me more as something simple we can all take part in.”