Ghanaian Ashanti eye test

UK optoms help improve Ghanaian eye conditions

An opticians has supplied 2,500 pairs of donated spectacles, their time and funds to help an eye clinic in west Africa.

The Specsavers branch in Hinckley has supported the Ashanti Development charity, in Ghana since 2004. Seven volunteers from the charity will travel to Ghana to deliver the most recent donation.

Charity director Penny David said: ‘The support we receive from residents of Hinckley and the surrounding area continues
to astound us. We work so hard for the Ashanti people and the goodwill of all those who donate is fantastic.’

The charity exists ‘to relieve poverty and promote health and development in and around the Ashanti region of Ghana by means including the provision of safe and accessible water’.

Its clinic has an optometrist who screens for common eye conditions and provides spectacles for those who need them.
Patients who show signs of cataracts are also helped and a surgeon visits when numbers are sufficient to run a specialist

‘When we started, we were aware of many problems facing the people of Ghana,’ Penny said. ‘Climate change has impacted
their economy, virtually destroying their cocoa industry. Other crops have struggled to grow and the streams they
rely on have shrunk and become polluted. At one point, two in every three babies would die before their second birthday, usually
of water-related disease.

‘I wrote to Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, and was astonished to receive a cheque in return to get things
moving. All the equipment in the Ashanti clinic has been supplied by Specsavers and Abhijit Roy, the store director at
Hinckley, has long supported us.

‘We’ve been working together since 2004 and through their kind donations and those of their customers, we’ve changed the lives of many Ghanaians’.

Abhijit said: ‘The work the charity has undertaken is amazing. The next aim is to provide a reusable orthoptic eye patch service for Ashanti children with amblyopia.

Climatic conditions in the area mean many locals suffer from a virulent form of conjunctivitis, aggravated by wind bringing dust from the Sahara. “These eye conditions, if left untreated, can result in permanent damage or even loss of vision. So the charity needs more support to provide further services.

‘We have collection points in store and often run bigger fund-raising activities, so thank you to the team and everyone locally who gets involved – it really makes a difference.’

CET – management of Anisometropic Amblyopia
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