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 spread across all states. Like The Fred Hollows Foundation, Specsavers believes 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, by making a donation for every pair of glasses sold.
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 for Specsavers optometrists to assist with The Fred Hollows Foundation’s field work that their funding helps make possible.
The two optometrists held a two day training event which was attended by around 20 doctors from around the Tien Giang district. The training event upskilled the local team by updating their knowledge on the latest refraction and eye screening processes and offering workshops on basic techniques for the dispensing of glasses.
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' funding is supporting 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 project mostly occurs through the Lions Outback Vision Van, which can travel to regional, remote and Indigenous communities, reducing rates of preventable blindness and vision loss. The van is fitted with state-of-the-art technology and offers specialist eye care services, helping patients as eye conditions are detected, treated and managed.
The Foundation also runs health promotion activities through the project, focusing on behavioural changes, specifically targeting healthy eating, active lifestyles and accessing health services. These activities can all prevent diabetes which is a major sight-threatening disease in these communities.
Limited Edition glasses help to “Close the Gap”
In 2014 and again in 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.
The ongoing funds from Specsavers have helped The Foundation perform hundreds of sight-restoring surgeries since the partnership was created. We are incredibly thankful to Specsavers for their ongoing support”
– Gabi Hollows, Founding Director