HAVING healthy eyesight and access to eye checks should not be taken for granted, with many people worldwide going without, Morley Galleria OPSM area eyecare manager WA Stephanie Bahler says.
Ms Bahler has helped make eye care accessible to local residents and disadvantaged Australians through OneSight, a non-profit organisation providing access to eye care and eye wear for Australians.
With 86 per cent of Australians fearing losing their sight more than any other sense, OPSM and OneSight set a challenge called One Dark Minute for World Sight Day on October 8 for people to close their eyes for a minute and imagine what life would be like without sight.
OneSight travels to remote and regional areas to provide eyewear and optometry services to indigenous Australians, homeless shelters and disadvantaged schools.
Ms Bahler said she was involved in school vision screenings in the low socio-economic schools around Perth where a team spent a day at a school, screening everyone’s vision from kindergarten to Year 6 at no cost to the school.
“Those kids who need glasses are issued with a vision voucher where they can get glasses for free,” she said.
“Healthy eyes is very important as sight is one of five senses that we shouldn’t take for granted.
“Healthy eyes equals good vision, which enables us to see the world around us and our loved ones.
“Furthermore, 80 per cent of the learning that a child does is through the visual system, so it’s vital that we catch any issues early to prevent any behavioural issues that can stem from poor vision.”
Ms Bahler said disadvantaged people might not be able to afford a pair of glasses which could greatly affect their life, including their learning potential and confidence.
“If someone has a high prescription they may be regarded as being legally blind, but this can be easily fixed with a pair of glasses,” she said.
“We are very lucky in Australia to have Medicare that can give access to bulk-billed eye tests.”
For more information about One Dark Minute, visit opsm.com.au/onedarkminute