Luke Higgins Optometry, based in the Mount Compass Medical Centre, is teaming up with the medical outreach provider Youth With A Mission (YWAM) to help those in need, have a better life.
YWAM is an organisation that provides medical support in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the project Luke is involved is to provide spectacles to the people of PNG.
Luke said uncorrected refractive error was the leading cause of vision impairment world wide and is a really big issue in PNG.
"Refractive error is treated with spectacles and contact lenses and it is something I am very proud to be part of," Luke said.
"We are collecting second hand spectacles that people no longer want. A donation box has been set up in the Mount Compass Medical Centre and in Victor Harbor, at the Royal Society for the Blind."
Once the spectacles have been received, they are cleaned, measured, and labeled by Luke Higgins Optometry. The spectacles are then packed up and delivered to YWAM to be added to the spectacle library on board the medical ship.
The aim of this project is to fight preventable blindness and vision impairment in PNG. It also offers a second life to old spectacles and minimises waste.
"YWAM use a large medical ship to travel around PNG providing a range of medical care, including eye health services (Optometry). YWAM has a spectacle library on board their ship that is made up of donated spectacles. All the spectacles have the prescription recorded and entered into a data base," Luke said.
"When patients see the Optometry team and have their prescription determined, the patients prescription is entered into the database and the best set of spectacles in the library are dispensed."
Luke became involved after teaching in the South Pacific earlier this year in Fiji and heard about projects that are happening around the South Pacific, including in PNG.
"This project caught my attention as it directly helps a large amount of people with sustainable eye care and it also minimises waste, as it gives spectacles that are no longer used, another life," Luke said.
"I decided to get involved and spoke to YWAM, who run the medical ships and sorted out the details for getting the spectacles to the medical ship. I then set up collection points in Mount Compass and Victor Harbor.
"It feels great to be an optometry practice on the Fleurieu assisting another country in need. It's a simple and easy thing to do, that will make a big difference for the people of PNG, who are suffering from visual impairment due to not having adequate spectacles."