Setting its sights on improving vision in other parts of the world, Specsavers Stanhope Gardens in New South Wales has been collecting pre-loved glasses in store so that they can be hand-delivered to people in need in Nepal.

Passionate about making a difference, Stanhope Gardens Optometry Partner Steve McGowan will be recycling the glasses while taking part in an outreach trip to Nepal in February 2018.

In conjunction with Rotary Australia World Community Service, Steve and 20 fellow optometrists and dispensers from all over Australia will be visiting several schools and townships over two weeks. At each location, Steve and his team will partner with a local Nepali medical team to administer free eye screenings and examinations, issue referrals and dispense glasses. Overall, the team plans to administer approximately 5,000 eye screenings over the course of the trip.

Thanks to donations from the Stanhope Gardens community, Steve is hoping to take several hundred pairs of glasses to distribute, and anything he doesn’t use during his stay will be left for trained staff to continue to administer.

“This is the fourth outreach trip I have been on to Nepal and it’s great to see our work making a difference in the lives of people who are surrounded by such poverty,” Steve said. “You don’t appreciate how lucky we are to live in a country where eye care is subsidised and readily available until you see how others have to live.

“Nepal is one of the world’s poorest nations with just under half of its population living below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are currently around 466,000 people in need of eye treatment and another 60,000 new cataract cases each year. Every pair [of glasses] collected will make a huge difference to the lives of those suffering from poor eyesight and will provide individuals with a clearer, brighter future.”

Specsavers Stanhope Gardens also supports Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The Fred Hollows Foundation through the Specsavers Community Program, which sees a portion of glasses sales being donated to the charities. To date, this has seen more than $9,800 go to these charities.