Tasmanian optometrists providing eye care for asylum seekers on visas

The Red Cross identifies those in need and matches th to the optometrists volunteering their services to help out.
As the men are on bridging visas, they do not qualify for Centrelink, Medicare, or any other government assistance, relying on the Red Cross and goodwill.
“No one should go without eye care and if we can make a difference for these people and to their quality of life, then we are very pleased to offer our services,” participating optometrist Mr Lee Baumwol said on 19 August.
“These people have enough to deal with, coming half way around the world to seek asylum, and we at the Optometrists Association Australia have a strong community service commitment and are happy to help out,” Mr Baumwol said.
Red Cross case workers identified this need among clients who clearly needed glasses but couldn’t afford the cost.
Ms Al Hines, the head of Migrant Services for Red Cross Tasmania says not being able to attend to this health issue is a significant barrier to successfully transition into a new community and into Australian society.
“The difference a pair of glasses makes to these clients is immense. We’ve seen clients’ confidence grow as they feel more able to participate in the community,” Ms Hines said.
“Our thanks goes to the Tasmanian division of Optometrists Association of Australia who worked with Red Cross to get the sche up and running in a first of its kind in Australia.”
The project is now operating throughout Tasmania. It also marks the start of centenary celebrations for the Tasmanian division of OAA – commorating 100 years since the first legislation to regulate optometry in Australia was passed by the Tasmania Parliament in 1913.
Above: Two recipients were fitted with their glasses by Hobart optometrist Lee Baumwol – Mohammed Sayed, 72, and Abdullah Gholami, 27, both Hazara people from Afghanistan

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