More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Eye-deal opportunity for Cook Islanders to get free glasses

Thursday 12 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Health, National


Eye-deal opportunity for Cook Islanders to get free glasses
Metua Anitonia (left) and Rongo Unuia are grateful for their new pair of eye glasses distributed by Te Marae Ora. MELINA ETCHES/23101101

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health is conducting basic reading eye tests and distributing free eye glasses around Rarotonga in an effort to promote World Sight Day which will be marked today.

Two thousand pairs of glasses have been sponsored by OneSight Australia, and already hundreds have been distributed throughout the Puna centres on the island.

Rongo Unuia received her pair of glasses at the Nikao Puna centre yesterday morning.

“I’m happy to have a free pair of glasses, this makes a big difference for me, thanks to everyone involved in this programme,” she said.

Te Marae Ora’s Dr Yin Yin May said the eye programme is being run for the first time to increase awareness in the community, to draw attention to vision impairment and to prevent preventable blindness. 

Trained nurses administered eye tests at the Puna clinics located in the districts of Titikaveka, Tupapa, Blackrock, and Nikao.

Additionally, eye tests were also conducted on the island of Aitutaki.

Today, the final eye testing programme will take place at the Matavera Puna, located next to Apii Takitumu from 9am to 3pm.

Last week, the Titikaveka Puna screened a total of 108 individuals, out of those, 105 people received glasses, and three were referred to the eye nurse specialist.

At the Blackrock clinic, 147 persons underwent screening; 134 were provided with glasses, and three were referred to the eye nurse specialist.

In Tupapa, a total of 66 individuals registered for the screening programme, and all of them received a pair of glasses.

In Aitutaki, 104 individuals participated in the screening, with 100 individuals receiving reading glasses and 40 pairs of sunglasses being distributed.

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness highlights the significance of eye care in the workplace through the theme of “Love Your Eyes” for World Sight Day. This aims to encourage employers to adopt eye health initiatives as a standard practice and promote habits that will benefit the well-being, safety, and productivity of their employees.

Currently, approximately 2.7 billion people globally, which is about one in three individuals, live with uncorrected poor vision, with 90 per cent of them living in communities or populations with limited financial resources and lower socio-economic status.