Oamaru helping eyecare project in Fiji

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Oamaru optometrist Dave Roberts is delighted to be involved in a nation-wide project which is helping more than 1000 Fijians with basic eye care and specialised treatment.

Mr Roberts, owner of Visique Oamaru Eyecare, is supporting Voluntary Ophthalmic Services Overseas (VOSO) by making a donation for every eye examination undertaken at his practice between April 21 and May 31.

“It’s a great thing to be involved with,” he said yesterday.

” We have an association also with Sandra Meikle who works in the Congo. We collect and send glasses to her.”

Formed in the 1980s, VOSO provides free eye care to help prevent the risk of blindness among people in the Pacific Islands.

Mr Roberts said this was the first time he had beeen part of the project but he expected it would be an ongoing association.

“One of the things we try to do in Oamaru is when we do driver vision tests, we take a donation; we don’t charge a fee. We’ll keep collecting for VOSO.”

VOSO chairman Richard Johnsons said Fiji had only a small number of optometrists and ophthalmologists and many there did not have access to eye care.

“On the island of Vanua Levu there is only one ophthalmologist to service a population of around 220,000 which means many on the island go without the necessary eye care.

“VOSO has been sending teams to Fiji since the 1980s and we have found that our services are needed more than ever before.”

Mr Roberts said Oamaru people were always supportive of such projects.

“I think Oamaruvians are good natured, generous folk and it gives them pleasure that they are helping to give services to somewhere where they are not available.”