Four senior optometrists and four graduate optometrists from Specsavers will have the opportunity to work with Specsavers’ national charity partner, The Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), across four outreach projects this year, including, for the first time, in Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Each year, Specsavers works alongside FHF to make quality eye care accessible to communities that would not otherwise have access to it through a series of outreach trips. In 2019, Specsavers and FHF are offering more outreach opportunities than ever before, with four trips taking place across Australia and in Fiji from June to October.
Two Fijian training opportunities will take place at the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI), located in Suva. The PEI is the Pacific region’s first training facility for eye health professionals, and specifically trains postgraduate students to provide eye care in Pacific conditions.
While in Fiji, the selected optometrists will supervise, train and mentor the PEI students as they are seeing patients. The first Fijian outreach trip will take place from 3 to 7 June. The second Fijian trip will take place from 10 to 18 June and will include two days in Nadi assisting a mobile eye clinic as it performs cataract surgeries.
A rural Australian outreach will take place in Katherine in the Northern Territory from 5 to 9 August – the first time Specsavers optometrists have assisted FHF on an outreach in this area.
FHF works with the Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, to provide primary health care services to Aboriginal people in the township of Katherine. The eye health team at this health service focus on diabetic retinopathy screening, retinal image review and facilitating pathways to support the diagnosis, treatment and management of eye conditions.
Optometrists participating in this outreach will be assisting the Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service team with screening, dispensing drops, patient management and community engagement. This work will primarily occur within Katherine, with a potential opportunity to travel to support nearby connected health services.
Fitzroy Crossing, WA
The final 2019 outreach trip will take place from 1 to 5 October in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.
FHF works with Lions Outback Vision (LOV) to deliver quality eye health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia. LOV’s mobile eye health clinic, the Lions Outback Vision Van, provides ophthalmological and optometric care to 30 communities in rural and remote WA.
Optometrists participating in the Fitzroy Crossing outreach will be assisting both the ophthalmology team in the Vision Van and the LOV optometry team to provide eye care in Fitzroy Crossing and in the smaller surrounding communities.
Read about the Specsavers-FHF outreach experience from previous participants:
Seeing Vietnam in a new light: An Vu
A step towards altering Vietnam’s outlook: Tuong Nghiem
Eyes on the Pacific: Ravi Singh
An eye-opening experience in Fiji: Lai Tran
Making a difference in Fiji: Ian Russell
Looking at the bigger picture: Rowena Fuller
Giving back to the community in rural WA: Marlene Boulos
Breaking down barriers in Indigenous eye care: Matthew Chung