Hayes optician has been championing a local glasses recycling scheme to help improve access to eyecare services in developing countries.

Encouraging donations

Store manager, Alice Cole, has been encouraging local residents to donate their used and unwanted glasses to global sight charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) and since last year residents have donated 500 pairs of glasses.

Desperately needed treatment

Customers can simply drop them into collection boxes in store and the charity uses the proceeds from selling the reusable materials towards establishing vision centres, training healthcare workers and utilising the expertise of volunteers to give people desperately-needed eye examinations and treatment.

First-hand experience

Alice hopes to experience first-hand the work that VAO does in the coming months and is about to embark on a training programme to prepare her for the emotional challenges and more complex medical issues that she is likely to face when she volunteers in Africa.

Taking eyecare for granted

Alice said: ‘Eyecare is something that we take for granted in the UK because there is an optician on almost every high street. For people in developing countries this is not the case and as a result children are unable to finish their education, parents cannot work to support their families and grandparents have never seen their grandchildren. In some of these cases all they need is an eye test and a pair of glasses.’

Fantastic initiative

Mark Worthington, store director of Specsavers Hayes continued: ‘The VAO recycling scheme is a fantastic initiative. We encourage all of our customers purchasing new glasses to donate their old pair. It’s so easy to do and rather than gathering dust at the back of a cupboard, they can benefit people in countries where quality eyecare is not as readily available.

We’re so pleased that Alice has been leading the scheme in store and we’re extremely proud of her commitment to the charity. She will have our full support when the time comes for her to volunteer.’

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