In a garment factory in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, 23-year-old Mossamut Shopna Begum is complaining of headaches, watery eyes and blurred vision.
Spending hours focusing on fine needlework and repetitive tasks is taking a toll on Mossamut’s eyes and she has taken the opportunity to have her eyes screened at a special café set up near the factory.
“When I work continuously at the same distance in the factory, my vision automatically becomes hazy and blurry. When I concentrate harder on my sewing, it is getting really hard because of tears and headache,” Mossamut said.
The eye screening is being delivered by Bangladesh’s Awaj Foundation, through a partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Through this partnership, doctors and nurses have been trained in eye health and provided with specialist equipment to check the eyes of workers who visit six of the Awaj Foundation’s cafes.
The free eye screenings are essential for workers like Mossamut, who can easily develop work-related eye issues and are unable to afford medical services or find the time to access them.
“There was no eye service until The Fred Hollows Foundation provided training and equipment,” Dr Selina Sency from the Awaj Foundation explained.
When Dr Sency screened Mossamut’s eyes, she discovered a more serious issue – possibly an infection – and prescribed eye drops.
Mossamut said: “I am really happy getting eye services for free because I was having vision problems for the past couple of weeks.”
“I heard the news from my colleagues and today I came. I am happy the service is free.”