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Look of joy

Optometrist established a temporary eye clinic in Uganda

Ugandan woman wearing spectacles

Optometrist Ruth Easton treated more than 700 Ugandan patients who could not afford spectacles.

The Merthyr Tydfil, Wales optometrist visited the region of Kasala, Uganda in November. With the help of her friends Sarah Walker and Steve Jones, she set up a clinic in the staffroom of a school built by the local charity, House of Joy.

Ms Easton gave away more than 300 pairs of spectacles to the 700 patients who attended the clinic during her visit. The eyewear was collected from the community of Merthyr Tydfil, with at least 1000 frames donated.

There were 10 patients who required complicated prescriptions and Ms Easton is preparing these now that she has returned to the UK.

Speaking of her experience, she emphasised that: “I met a man who was severely short sighted and had never worn glasses. Giving him the gift of a pair of frames helped improve his vision and immediately changed his life – it really was a moment that I’ll never forget.”

She added: “My visit would not have been as successful as it was without the generous donation of unwanted frames from the people of Merthyr. I am so grateful to have been able to take the high number of glasses with me to help so many people who desperately needed them.”

Ms Easton received a £1000 donation from Specsavers founders, Doug and Mary Perkins, for her charity trip. These funds will also be partly used to fund a trabeculectomy for a 28-year-old-woman.

Eye care supplier Three-Sixty also donated ophthalmic drops and hygiene products to the cause.

Ms Easton is now planning her next trip, she said, outlining that: “As an optician, I know all too well the importance of regular sight tests from a young age and the difference having access to basic medicines makes in maintaining good eye health.”

Image credit: Specsavers