Two optometrists at the Talbot Green store who are heading to Jamaica to give free eye care to families in need are appealing for local residents’ help to reach their £2,000 fundraising target.

Flying out for charity

Iain McLaren and Heather Tolmie will travel to the island on 26th October to team up with Great Shape! Inc., an American charity providing education and healthcare to families in the Caribbean.

While there, they will help give around 1,500 eye tests to people in the country’s poorest regions. The pair are keen to raise money before they go to help the charity fund new equipment, eye exams, prescription glasses, health screenings, sunglasses and cataract surgery.

‘In the UK, a pair of glasses is often seen as a basic commodity, but for many in Jamaica they are an unaffordable luxury,’ says Mr McLaren. ‘The fact that so many Jamaicans have gone through life without a single sight test is extremely concerning. We are looking forward to changing that for some during our trip in October.’

There are only two public health eye care providers available for every 500,000 Jamaicans, according to Great Shape! Inc. Nearly half (43 per cent) of Jamaicans have never seen an optician or been treated for their eye health problems.

Appealing for generous support

Mr McLaren and Ms Tolmie are taking part in several fundraising activities ahead of the trip and are hoping for support from local residents. They have already completed the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge, climbing Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan in the same day. The Specsavers store is also hosting a raffle.

‘Coming from a family of optometrists, I know first-hand the importance of good eyesight’, Ms Tolmie adds. ‘Vision loss has a negative effect on a person’s livelihood but, in many cases, it can be completely avoided with early detection and treatment.

‘Iain and I have already raised more than £800 for this cause thanks to generous donations from friends, family and customers. But we still have a long way to go to hit our £2,000 target. We would be grateful to anyone who can help us achieve this goal by donating online or buying a ticket for the raffle in-store.’

Donations can be made online via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/heatherandiainjamaica or by visiting the store at Talbot Green Retail Park.

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