Pirie campaign to collect spectacles for needy

SIGHT: Specsavers Port Pirie customers Patricia McCormack, left, and Vivian Woodhouse donate their glasses.
SIGHT: Specsavers Port Pirie customers Patricia McCormack, left, and Vivian Woodhouse donate their glasses.

An optometrist is on a mission to take on a major global health crisis and is calling on locals for help.

Specsavers Port Pirie is launching a glasses recycling program in partnership with Lions Recycle for Sight.

The campaign will see quality glasses and sunglasses being delivered to people in need overseas.

Recent global studies have shown 101.2 million people are sight-impaired as a result of lacking glasses to correct simple vision problems.

Over time as the problems remain uncorrected and vision deteriorates, leading to 6.8 million people living with blindness.

The firm’s co-owner, Candice Trestrail, said she was shocked to learn how many people were going blind in impoverished communities around the world simply because they lacked spectacles.

“We had to do something about it. Blindness and vision impairments are so much worse in Third Wold countries because they can mean the difference between people being able to have a job and feed their family or not,” she said.

According to the World Health Organisation, sight problems from uncorrected refractive errors can have immediate and long-term consequences on both children and adults.

“We are confident residents will get behind our program,” Candice said.

“We have set ourselves a target of collecting 100 pairs of glasses each month, but the more we can collect, the better because every pair of glasses will make a significant difference.”

Once spectacles are collected, they will be sent to Lions Recycle for Sight in Queensland where they will be checked, cleaned and labelled. 

They will be distributed through charities and humanitarian organisations.

Chairman of Lions Recycle for Sight, Ken Leonard OAM, said the campaign was part of the Lions Clubs International Worldwide Eyeglass Recycling Program.

“In the past 26 years, we have delivered more than seven million pairs of refurbished quality glasses around the world,” he said.

“We are excited to work with Specsavers Port Pirie on this program because it will mean that we can process more glasses than ever before and save the sight of so many more people.”

Candice added: “We see people come into our store every day who buy new glasses and no longer have a use for their old ones - usually they are still in perfect condition. Our recycling program allows them to donate their pre-loved spectacles to change someone else’s life.”