A member of staff at Specsavers in Newtown has returned from a trip to Africa where she worked to improve eye health in a local community in Zambia.

Esther Lauder, 27, visited Livingston, Zambia with Vision Aid Overseas on a two week volunteer trip, working at an eye clinic to carry out vision tests and fit members of the community with glasses.

Helping the community

Mrs Lauder and eight other volunteers set up an eyecare surgery, where they carried out vision screening tests to measure, fit and glaze frames and, where necessary, refer people to hospital if serious eye health conditions were detected.

Mrs Lauder has worked at Specsavers in Newtown for more than three years as an optical dispensing assistant.

Prior to her trip, she asked customers of the Newtown store to bring in their unwanted glasses so that they could be given to people treated at the Zambian eye clinic.

‘Challenging experience’

Mrs Lauder said: ‘Visiting Zambia was a challenging experience but the nature of the work made it so worthwhile.

‘Most of the people that we saw had never had their eyes tested, which really is heart-breaking because so many of the eye health problems could have been easily treated if basic eyecare services were in place.’

David Dunlop, director at Specsavers in Newtown, said: ‘Esther has combined her professional skills with her desire to help those who are less fortunate to make a big impact in the Livingstone community.

‘We’d encourage anyone who has an old pair of glasses that may be unused in a drawer at home to drop them into store – we’ll make sure the glasses quite literally give someone a new lease of life through our work with Vision Aid Overseas.’

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