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Local optometrists helping people twice

On World Sight Day (Oct. 9), Drs. Lidkea, Elliott & Lidkea Optometry Clinic in Fort Frances will focus on both local patients and people halfway across the world who desperately need eye care.

Lidkea Optometry will donate all of that day’s eye examination fees to help some of the estimated 300 million people in the developing world who are blind or vision impaired simply for lack of eye exam and a pair of glasses.

“Here in Canada, we take things like eye glasses for granted,” noted Dr. Bruce Lidkea. “They’re readily available to those who need them.

“But in many countries, optometrists and the equipment needed to diagnose problems with eye sight are very scarce, and eye glasses are a luxury all too often out of reach,” he added.

Dr. Lidkea and his staff are planning to celebrate World Sight Day throughout October, hoping to raise community awareness and inviting their patients to join them in supporting the cause.

In the developing world, making a living often is a huge challenge. Serious vision problems add to that burden, threatening livelihoods and even lives.

Children who need glasses, but don’t have access to them, often are left out of school—reducing their chances of living a better life and becoming contributing citizens in their communities.

Dr. Lidkea and his staff were inspired to help by stories like that of John Moria, a 67-year-old subsistence farmer in East Timor who is extremely near-sighted. Having lost most of his family during the recent independence struggle, and with very limited vision, it was increasingly difficult for Moria to tend to his crops.

In a country with no social welfare system, this was a threat to his very survival.

Today, Moria has regained his sight and his autonomy. His life literally was saved by a pair of glasses!

Optometrists around the world will be joining Lidkea Optometry in taking up the World Sight Day Challenge, an annual fundraising campaign of “Optometry Giving Sight,” a global initiative specifically targeting the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to refractive error (the need of glasses).

Last year, more than $250,000 were raised, which currently is providing vision care, training, and infrastructure support in Sri Lanka, East Africa, East Timor, and South Africa.

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