Since 2011, Specsavers has partnered with The Fred Hollows Foundation to restore sight to thousands of people in Australia and overseas.
Specsavers is Australasia’s largest optometry provider with over 320 stores in Australia and over 50 stores in New Zealand. Like The Fred Hollows Foundation, Specsavers believe that everyone should have access to the best quality eye care and eye wear and is dedicated to providing that not just to its customers, but to those in need too.
The ‘Specsavers Community Program’ is a nationwide community initiative which is implemented across all its stores. The program aims to raise funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation, as well as hundreds of local charities across the country.
For every pair of glasses sold, Specsavers donates a portion of the profits to support people in need.
Children in Vietnam hold Specsavers Community Program tokens
Limited Edition glasses help to “Close the Gap”
From 2014 to 2015, Specsavers joined forces with The Fred Hollows Foundation in a special project to help ‘Close the Gap’ on vision loss between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Limited edition glasses frames were released and $25 from each sale was donated to The Foundation.
The frames used the artwork of an Aboriginal artist from Ernabella who had received two cataract operations thanks to The Foundation.
In 2014 the Limited Edition Frames sold out in record time, raising $62,500 for The Foundation. In 2015, the sunglasses raised $100,000 for The Foundation. The artist, whose name cannot be used for cultural reasons, has since passed away, but her legacy is now living on through the thousands of people who have been helped because of this very special project.
Outside of the Limited Edition Frames, the ongoing funds from Specsavers have also helped The Foundation perform hundreds of sight-restoring surgeries since the partnership was created five years ago. For that reason The Foundation is incredibly thankful to Specsavers and their ongoing support”
– Gabi Hollows, Founding Director
Optometry Outreach in Vietnam
In April 2017, as part of the Specsavers Community Program, an optometrist and a graduate optometrist from Specsavers embarked on a training outreach trip to Vietnam.
This trip provided the opportunity to experience first-hand what The Fred Hollows Foundation does in the field, thanks to generous support from Specsavers. It also brought to life all of the work and fundraising that Specsavers stores do through the Specsavers Community Program, showing the true human impact of this support.
Two optometrists visited The Foundation’s Vietnam Child Eye Care Project, and assisted through upskilling the team on the ground in Tien Giang. Around 20 doctors from around the district and provincial eye hospitals attended the two day training event, updating their knowledge on the latest refraction and eye screening processes and learning the basic techniques for the dispensing of glasses.
The Specsavers optometrists were also able to participate in the screening of school children at the local Than Cuu Nghia Secondary School, where they were able to screen the eyes of 90 children aged 10-14. The team gave away 100 pairs of sunglasses to the children.
Lions Eye Institute Outreach Ophthalmology Project
From 2018, Specsavers will specifically support the Lions Eye Institute Outreach Ophthalmology Project, helping The Fred Hollows Foundation restore sight in Western Australia.
The Lions Eye Institute Ophthalmology Outreach Project focuses on the reduction of avoidable blindness in remote and rural areas of Western Australia by ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to quality eye health and vision care services. The Fred Hollows Foundation has been working with Lions Eye Institute to address the challenges of delivering quality specialist eye health care to rural and remote communities across Western Australia since 2014.
The purpose of the project is to increase access to specialist eye care services, resulting in improved rates of early detection, treatment and management of eye disease, particularly diabetic retinopathy. The majority of the ophthalmology outreach provided through this project occurs through the Lions Outback Vision Van. The Vision Van enables increased access to remote locations that do not have eye care services. Fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, the mobile eye health van travels throughout Western Australia delivering vital services to regional, remote and Indigenous communities, reducing rates of preventable blindness and vision loss.
Early detection and treatment for diabetic retinopathy can stop vision loss and eventual blindness. However, prevention is an important element to fighting the disease of diabetes. The Foundation does this through health promotion activities, focusing on behavioural changes, specifically targeting healthy eating, active lifestyles and accessing health services.
We were able to help Tracey from Broome
Tracey Howard is a 73 year-old Aboriginal woman from Beagle Bay, Western Australia. A grandmother and great-grandmother, she started to go blind with bi-lateral cataracts.
The closest eye hospital to Tracey is in Broome, a four-hour drive south from Beagle Bay. When Tracey arrived at Broome Hospital, she met Dr Angus Turner.
Read more about Tracey and how access to eye care changed her life.