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
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
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
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.