Change the View provides 300 Downtown East Side residents with eye care for World Sight Day

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Change the View

Eye care is important, whether people have access to it or not, and one local company is making sure they do.

To celebrate World Sight Day on October 8, Clearly partnered with the Union Gospel Mission to provide over 300 Downtown Eastside residents with preventative eye care, eye tests, and glasses.

Clearly does this work through Change the View, which started in 2011 to promote and improve access to vision care for people, regardless of their socioeconomic status. To date they’ve aided over 550,000 people in 14 countries.

“That can mean a lot of different things for different people. In some cases it might mean a pair of prescription eye glasses, in other cases it may be preventative vitamins. We also offer protective sunglasses for people,” says Brittney Fehr, a Team Leader with Clearly and part of the Change the View team. “Some people obviously may not have a prescription at all, and being able to protect your eyes from early onset cataracts is equally important to us.”

The idea for the event came following a UGM event this past June. Clearly joined other vital service providers at UGM and after noticing an overwhelming response for eye care and glasses, Clearly made arrangements for a second event.

At the event, Clearly helped more than 300 people, handing out protective sunglasses, 165 pairs of reading glasses, and taking orders for 154 of pairs of custom prescription glasses, which will be delivered back to UGM in three to four weeks.

“Vision is something that we really take for granted,” says Fehr. “It’s not just specific to the DTES it’s really world wide, and that’s what World Sight Day is all about. It’s a day to bring awareness and focus and global attention to blindness and vision impairment. 285 million people world wide live with low vision and blindness, and 80 percent of visual impairment is actually avoidable. By removing the barrier to vision access in this case, or a pair of glasses, it can really help to empower someone to get to the next step in their life.”

For information on Clearly, Change the View, and the UGM can be found online.

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Shawn O'Hara Shawn is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. He loves writing about news, arts, movies, comedy, and culture. Some would argue Shawn is too old to still play Dungeons & Dragons. Shawn would disagree.

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