Through our local programme, “Looking into your eyes”, we offer optical care to boys and girls living in or on the poverty line, seeking to help boost academic achievement and improve the quality of their lives. Ours is an integrated visual health programme, achieved through the alliances we have forged other organisations, thus ensuring our capacity to treat all and any of the conditions we may encounter, and provide either visual therapy or surgery, if needed – all free of charge.
Our “Looking into your eyes” programme first kicked off in May 2016, operating through the Catalan Network of Open Centres, attended by children referred by local Social Services.
During term time the centres open to minors at the end of the school day, with their teams of support optometrists and student volunteers from the Terrassa School of Optometry and the Joan Brossa School, as well as other volunteers from Etnia Barcelona and divers visual therapy specialists.
When children are found to need prescription glasses, first we test their eyesight and then provide them with the appropriate prescription glasses, completely free of charge. In 2018 we started to offer and finance visual therapy and access to ophthalmologists for the children.
Students and Teachers of the Vocational Training Course for Eyewear Optical Specialists will be responsible for mounting the frames and prescription lenses for the 2018/19 period. Their help with the project has significantly bolstered it.
The project contacts opticians close to the centres, both with a view to their delivering the glasses to the children while, at the same time, serving as a port of call for the families, so that they know that if anything happens to their child’s glasses, or they have any other sort of issue, they can go to their support optician, to whom the foundation will have provided all the tools necessary to ensure the child’s continued proper use of his/her eyewear.
With respect to other forms of treatment, the foundation likewise offers, completely free of charge to the family, the following services (some of which began in 2018).
- Visual therapy.
- Convergence exercise therapy.
- Ophthalmological Services at the IMO Centre
- Surgery (IMO, BARRAQUER)
Through 2018 we visited 8 centres in and around Barcelona.
– Sant Joan Despí
– El Born
– Sant Adrià del Besòs
Where we attended 561 children.
In all, we provided the children with 223 pairs of prescription glasses.
Of the 561 children seen, 33% had never previously had their eyes tested (average age 9.6 years).
446 lenses were donated to us by Vision for Life d’Essilor
14 children from the centres visited were found to need visual therapy and were duly treated.
12 children were referred to IMO to be seen by ophthalmologists and provided with appropriate care.
All of which underscores just how badly the children we see on our monthly visits to the districts of Barcelona and surrounding towns of Catalonia need help with their eyesight. Oftentimes we have found ourselves faced with teens who have never previously had their eyes tested at all, some of whom really do need corrective eyewear. If not for us, it is unlikely their need would ever have been picked up.
We have joined forces with other institutions with extensive experience in the optical world, such as the Terrassa University School of Optics and Optometry, the University Clinic of the Terrassa Faculty of Optics and Optometry. It’s mission: to stand as a reference for quality visual care, pursuing excellence in all appropriate areas: both teaching and research. Amongst others, its goal is to bond with society to allow greater insight into the social work done by the University.
Vision for Life d’Essilor, is a philanthropic programme which seeks to accelerate initiatives looking to correct all bad eyesight by, first of all, creating an awareness and then training and designing the basic infrastructure required to safeguard individual eyesight. The programme is run and owned by Essilor as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Let us not forget that the corporate mission statement of Essilor is, “Improving lives by improving eyesight”.
The Optical Vocational Training Programme run by the Joan Brossa School works on a voluntary basis with our “Looking into your eyes” project. For the 2018/2019 period, both students and teachers on the course will be responsible for mounting the frames with prescription lenses.
The School’s work on the project is conducted in line with ApS methodology (a combination of on-the-job training and voluntary work).
The Catalan Association of Optometry and Visual Therapy: the goal of the Association is to help improve the visual health of underprivileged minors, aiding them to access visual therapy through the services of their member optometrists.
And, to ensure that the children on the programme benefit, they offer visual therapy to the Foundation, which finances the treatment, at reduced prices.
And lastly, the individual optometrists and support opticians who always heed our call.
UNIVERSAL AND VISUAL HEALTH PROJECT IN DAR SALAM: DIALOKOTO, SENEGAL
Yet again this year, we took our visual health programme to the rural area of Dialokoto, Senegal, to offer our support and help to the Universal Health Project. While there this time, we performed 1,900 eye tests at 5 primary schools, in, Dialokoto, Niemenike, Wasado, Laboya and Dar Salam (6-12 year olds). We also met our target from the previous year, that is, we checked the eyesight of teenagers at the Dialokoto Secondary School, as well as seeing all the other patients we had seen the previous year and all the teachers of the schools visited.
In total we found 140 cases needing prescription glasses.
After all these years working in Senegal as visual health specialists, we see that, both in terms of the ability to access a new pair of prescription glasses and a visual healthcare professional, the situation nationwide is somewhat precarious.
Participants: Viladecans Town Council, which financed the expedition, the NGO FALLOU, ESSILOR-*SIVO-SENEGAL, that donated the prescription lenses needed.
EXPEDITIONS AND PROJECTS WHICH DO NOT REQUIRE TRAVELLING TO THE AREAS IN QUESTION BUT IN WHICH WE HAVE ACTIVELY COOPERATED
“OPEN YOUR EYES “
Throughout 2018, we also supported “Open Your Eyes”, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving the visual health of people with mental disorders and/or from underprivileged groups. As every year, they visited Turkana, in Kenya, to test the eyesight of minors with poor sight and support the hospitals of the region by carrying out cataract surgery.
We support them by donating frames.
This year we donated 555 pairs of optical frames
DONATION OF FRAMES TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS.
Donation of frames to organisations running projects with which we feel an affinity, similar to those we conduct ourselves.
– 2403 optical frames – Terrassa University Vision Centre, to support their social programme, aimed at caring for the eyesight of people living in or on the poverty line.
– 330 frames – IMO (Institute of Ocular Microsurgery) Donation made to the organisation’s Foundation, as well as other projects under the same “Visual Health” umbrella.
– 810 frames – Òptics x mÓn, a not-for-profit NGO offering help to the third and fourth world to further the profession and help develop teaching options for Opticians and Optometrists
We have supported the project in Burkina Faso where Òptics x mÓn will provide the existing medical centre with all it needs to set up its own Optometric Surgery and an eyewear workshop, run by locals and aimed at offering services both to the patients of the medical centre’s ophthalmological service and the population in general that meets the criteria for priority care, as defined by the project.
– In total, this year we have donated 4,461 optical frames.
– We have seen a total of 2,461 individuals (mostly children).
– We have delivered a total of 363 pairs of prescription glasses to children of school age.