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Drop in those Specs!

MEDIA RELEASE Friday 4 October, 2002

Drop in those Specs!

To celebrate Lions’ World Sight Day on Thursday 10 October, Lions Clubs New Zealand are asking all New Zealanders to dig out their old and unused eyeglasses and sunglasses and deliver them to their nearest OPSM store or Visique practice during the week Monday 7 October to Sunday 13 October.

“This is the third year we have celebrated Lions World Sight Day in New Zealand, and we encourage everyone to get involved so that someone else can make good use of their old glasses,” said Ron Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer, Lions Clubs New Zealand.

Last year Lions Clubs collected a record 12,000 pairs of spectacles.

“We still believe that there are many thousands of pairs of glasses yet to be cleared out of people’s homes,” says Ron Lawrence. “Please make a conscious effort next week. We can put those glasses to good use."

After being cleaned and graded at one of two Lions Clubs eye glass recycling units, the glasses are distributed to areas in New Zealand by Lions Clubs and the South Pacific by Voluntary Ophthalmic Service Overseas (VOSO), a New Zealand wide charity that provides eye examinations and surgery to South Pacific nations.

“Sight is something not to be taken for granted,” says Diane McAteer, General Manager of Visique. “The World Health Organisation estimates that the eyesight of one-fourth of the world’s population can be improved through the use of corrective lenses. It is great to see glasses in New Zealand being used where they are most needed.”

“We are delighted to be involved for a third year,” says John Gimpel, OPSM’s General Manager – New Zealand. “Often a pair of glasses is unaffordable in developing countries or a single doctor may serve a


community of thousands. OPSM are very happy to support Lions Clubs and the excellent work conducted by New Zealand optometrists in the South Pacific.”

‘Sight’ is one of Lions Clubs’ core four focuses for fundraising and volunteerism worldwide. In 1990, Lions established SightFirst, a US $140 million global initiative to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness. Since then Lions has funded 136 eye clinics and hospitals, provided more than 3 million cataract surgeries, given 36 million treatments to prevent river blindness, screened more than six million patients for eye disease, and trained 13,000 eye care professionals.

In addition to the SightFirst program, Lions clubs continue to support other sight-related activities by providing 600,000 free professional glaucoma screenings and 20,000 corneal transplants each year, establishing and supporting a majority of the world’s eye banks, hundreds of clinics, hospitals and eye research centers worldwide. They also collect more than five million pairs of old, unwanted eyeglasses for distribution in developing countries and provide thousands each year with free quality eye care, eyeglasses, Braille-writers, large print texts, white canes and guide dogs.

Help Lions Clubs New Zealand mark Lions World Sight Day in New Zealand. Dig-out any unwanted prescription and non-prescription glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses.

(ends)
For further information contact: Jessica Garland: 04 382 6605

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation, with 1.4 million members in 190 countries and territories around the world. In New Zealand there are 500 clubs with nearly 13,000 members. Lions Clubs throughout the country have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours in improving conditions for their local communities. Worldwide the organisation has shown a strong commitment to preserving sight, promoting health, overcoming disabilities and serving youth.

OPSM is now one of the worlds leading eyecare and eyewear groups with over 600 outlets here in New Zealand, in Australia and across Asia. “Our group is 70 years strong this year, and to celebrate we hope to give those less privileged than ourselves a gift they will never forget. Your eyes are so important, and if we can help those people see better when they can't afford full eyecare, we are only too happy to help Lions to help them,” says John Gimpel, OPSM's NZ General Manager. OPSM stores are conveniently located all over New Zealand, and you can contact OPSM on 0800 696 776, or at www.opsm.com.au.

Visique is a national network of 74 independent optometrists committed to providing the best eye health care and eyewear solutions in New Zealand. As part of this commitment Visique is dedicated to educating New Zealander’s about the importance of taking care of their eyes to ensure healthy eyes and good vision for life. Visique Optometrists have been involved with Lion’s World Sight Day for the past few years. For your nearest Visique Optometrist call 0800 VISIQUE or www.visique.co.nz.

ENDS

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