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LBJ Hospital teams with OneSight Foundation to provide free reading glasses for eye patients

boxes of glasses with lbj staff and doner
(Source: LBJTMC press release)

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The LBJ Tropical Medical Center (LBJTMC) has recently launched a new initiative to provide free reading glasses to patients with vision impairments who seek assistance at the Eye Clinic.

Dr. Akapusi Ledua, the Chief Executive Officer of the LBJTMC, expressed his profound gratitude for the initiative's successful implementation. He attributed the program's success to the monumental donation of 2,000 reading glasses from the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, a contribution that will change the lives of many.

The OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, based in Australia, is dedicated to eliminating uncorrected poor vision within a generation by creating sustainable access through an innovative approach to impactful philanthropy, partnerships, and raising awareness.

As part of its goal to help eliminate uncorrected poor vision, the Group established the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation last year. The Foundation plays a significant role in supporting the Group’s sustainability strategy and commitment to advocating for good vision as a fundamental human right. Today, it is one of the world's largest foundations driving inclusive vision care access, thanks to the support of its partners, including governments, NGOs, like-minded private sector organizations, and employees.

In 2023, more than 3,500 volunteers supported the Foundation by conducting vision screenings and fundraising activities, and contributing their skills as part of ongoing efforts to promote "The Right to See," emphasizing good vision as a fundamental human right.

Dr. Ledua said the program is a beacon of hope for patients with vision challenges and is meticulously designed to ensure that they have access to the necessary eyewear.

“This initiative is not just about providing glasses but improving their quality of life and overall well-being. The donation of reading glasses will be allocated to patients with visual impairments who are under the care of our ophthalmologists at the Eye Clinic. These glasses will be distributed to our patients at no cost.

“Our ophthalmologists have verified that up to 40% of the patients suffer from visual impairments, and the timing of this donation could not have been more opportune.

“I wish to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation for broadening its philanthropic endeavors to encompass the Pacific Region, including American Samoa, the Cook Islands, and Kiribati. A supply of 2,000 reading glasses of varying strengths has been made available.

“Recognizing that certain community members may be unaware of this initiative or hesitant to use our eye clinic, the hospital is contemplating an outreach program in which ophthalmologists would venture into the villages to ensure the direct allocation of these glasses to those in need,” said Dr. Ledua.

Wayne Tennent, the Director of Programming for the Middle East, Europe, and Asia Pacific at OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, stated that good vision is a fundamental human right.

“Unfortunately, 2.7 billion people have eyesight problems. We can make a difference in the community and the significant improvement in life that good vision brings, whether it's a child in school or a mechanic in the community a simple pair of glasses will empower individuals to enhance their lives.

“One in three individuals fails to achieve their maximum potential, and corrective eyewear can address 80 percent of these cases. This presentation holds significant promise in addressing these challenges and facilitating the realization of the full potential of such individuals.

“In assessing the Pacific Region, it becomes apparent that access to essential healthcare presents a formidable challenge. Specifically, when examining the Cook Islands and Kiribati, the local population encounters significant obstacles in obtaining necessary healthcare services,” said Mr Tennent.