Two children whose health has suffered from the Chernobyl disaster received free eye care during a visit to Optical Express’ Maidstone branch.
The children come from contaminated areas in Belarus, only 20–30km from the blast site. The visit was part of a trip arranged by the charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline.
With the 1986 nuclear power plant blast continuing to contaminate the area, many children and their families from Ukraine and Belarus are unable to afford basic healthcare and go on to develop severe health issues.
Optical Express has partnered with the charity to provide eye health check-ups. The Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline has brought over 46,000 children from the Ukraine and Belarus to the UK since 1992 to improve their health.
The visiting children had exclusive use of the Optical Express branch. The optometrist who examined the children, Clive Burr, has worked at the clinic for over 20 years. He is pictured performing an eye examination on nine-year-old Matvei Maltsau, who visited the clinic along with 12-year-old Vladziflau Padoba.
Gwen Wood, head of the Maidstone link for Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, said: “We’re so pleased to have Optical Express on board to help provide much-needed healthcare for these children.
“Without the donated time and services, the children would otherwise go without eye tests as their families simply cannot afford them.”
She added: “We find that with every four-week visit to the UK, the children will have two years added to their life span.
“These children come with dark eyes but after the healthcare and break from contaminated food, water and air, they return bright-eyed and looking healthier.”
Manager of the Maidstone Optical Express branch, Marie Chapman, said: “I am thrilled that Optical Express can support the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity. The work that they do is fantastic and the children are amazing.
“Without charities like this, these children would not have the opportunity to benefit from the services we offer and that every child should be entitled to. We are honoured to be a part of their journey," she emphasised.