22 July 2019


22 July 2019


Its back to the repair workshop for former Shire councilors Tim Rodgers and Graham Pittock – learning how to repair and fit spectacles for their upcoming visit to Lospalos Timor Leste in July.

Pictured here with Colleen Hammond Senior Optometrist at Specsavers Rosebud, Retail Director John Muncaster and Verona Rawson.

Also pictured visiting Specsavers from Canberra to inspect the work in progress is Timor Leste Embassy First Secretary Samuel Soares – also from Lospalos.

The visiting team to Lospalos will be led by a qualified optometrist from Specsavers Rosebud Ms Colleen Hammond BVisSci MOptom. She will be taking with her the appropriate equipment to measure and fit spectacles and undertake eye examinations working with the local Lospalos hospital, nuns, translators and other Lospalos medical professionals.

The location of the screenings has been guided by the local Order, which is headed by Madre Guilhermina Marcal of the Canossian Sisters. They have a clinic in Los Palos, allowing access to free healthcare for the community. She will organise local translators to assist in the screenings, specifically detailing the noted and improved vision. The Sisters will contact those in the community for the screening, specifically targeting those most in need, particularly children whose potential is great.

Tim Rodgers and Graham Pittock will form part of the team and act as Ms Hammond’s assistants within the screening program and under her supervision. They are receiving detailed training from Specsavers in the repair and fitting up of spectacles.

Several years ago the Friends of Lospalos made a highly successful visit to Lospalos taking a large range of “off the rack” spectacles that are typically found in pharmacies.

While these spectacles did not meet the range of sight disabilities suffered by the general population, they were eagerly accepted by the Lospalos community who at least gained some significant improvement in their general quality of life in so many ways.

This was particularly so with many women who were able to resume the detailed needlework, cloth making and other activity so vital to their day to day income.

Many of these spectacles are now broken or in a state of disrepair. Many spare pairs also the necessary tools and equipment will accompany the visiting Project Team to enable this important repair and refitting work to be undertaken with the local community.

The project will also have a strong local educational component bring these skills and training to the local Lospalos community for themselves to learn from the Project Team the appropriate skills in the repair of spectacles and to impart knowledge to the local community as to eye care and health.

The project team will be volunteering and paying their own expenses.  Support from the broader Mornington Peninsula community is sought in the way of funding for the following –  trial lens set and trial frames $300, 100 pairs of sunglasses, 1000 pairs of optical prescription glasses.

The total cost of stock required for the project is $6,000, for which the project team have raised cash donations of $1,500 so far.

A retinal camera, visual fields machine and slit lamp also have all been generously donated helping assess the ocular health of the community. This will allow Ms Hammond to assess the anterior eye for cataracts and test for glaucoma

Specsavers Rosebud directors Ms Verona Rawson and Mr John Muncaster have committed to donating so far a retinal camera (for the assessing ocular health at the back of the eye) – approximate value of this is $3,000 and a peripheral vision machine (part of our glaucoma management), approximate value $2,000. There will also be in kind contributions to spectacle repairs by way of a boxes of screws, screwdrivers, nosepads.

These costs are presently approximate, but a wonderful guide to the high level of support in the local ophthalmic profession and community in the Mornington Peninsula for this Project.

The general purpose of the project is designed to assess the needs of the Lospalos community in the way of optometric care. In doing so, Ms Hammond will perform a screening program of the community members of Lospalos, and where appropriate, distribute spectacles to those whom require them. For those whom will not benefit from spectacle correction, the aim is that sunglasses can be provided to them, with the emphasis being on sun protection and eye health.  This screening will be done with her own personal equipment she will be travelling with and other equipment donated by the medical professional community on the Mornington Peninsula.

Ocular health is important to consider in areas such as Timor Leste, whereby pterygia and cataracts are likely in high rates due to UV exposure.

The location closer to the equator also makes the Timorese people reach absolute presbyopia (changes to the lens in the eye that require the assistance of spectacles) earlier than the Australian population.

Spectacle repairs initiative as part of the optometric screening program is designed to encourage participation with the community after the screening program has been run. The project aim also is to create a well- rounded program catering for the many optometric needs, in turn educating about the value of sight.

The ultimate aim of the project is to create a vision program that can develop year on year into something sustainable for the local community of Lospalos.

The planned departure date for the Team from Melbourne is 22nd May 2019 for 10 days travelling to Dili and on to Lospalos, Timor Leste.

For further details and how to make a donation contact Graham Pittock on 0408 332 197.