A staff member from Specsavers in Merthyr Tydfil has helped hundreds of people living in poverty in Uganda by providing sight-saving treatment and glasses.
Hundreds of glasses donated
More than 300 pairs of glasses were given away with some families walking for miles to get their eyes tested by 28-year-old optician, Ruth Easton, during her two-week visit to the Kasala region of Uganda.
Based in the staff room of a school built by Ugandan charity, House of Joy, Ms Easton and her two friends, Sarah Walker and Steve Jones, set up a temporary eye clinic from which they treated more than 700 people.
Moment I will never forget
‘As an optician I know all too well the importance of regular sight tests from a young age and the difference having access to basic medicines makes in maintaining good eye health,’ says Ms Easton, who collected more than 1,000 frames from her local community before her trip.
‘In Uganda, I met a man who was severely short sighted and had never worn glasses. Giving him the gift of a pair of frames helped improve his vision and immediately changed his life - it really was a moment that I’ll never forget.
My visit would not have been as successful as it was without the generous donation of unwanted frames from the people of Merthyr; I am so grateful to have been able to take the high number of glasses with me to help so many people who desperately needed them.’
Ahead of her visit, Ms Easton wrote to Specsavers founders, Doug and Dame Mary Perkins, and received a donation of £1,000, which will partly be used to fund a trabeculectomy operation to save the sight of a 28-year-old woman who had lost vision in one eye and had developed glaucoma in the other.
So proud of Ruth’s achievements
Peter Render, store director at Specsavers in Merthyr Tydfil, said: ‘Ruth has actively made a huge difference to the quality of life for hundreds of men, women and children in Uganda and is an inspiration to us all here in store. We are so proud of her and everything that she has achieved.’