At a recent conference held in London, those attending expressed grave concerns about the ever increasing number of children of all ages, particularly those under the age of 12, who needed glasses to see both long and short distances. The blame was laid firmly at the door of smart phones, tablets and computer games and the time spent on staring at the small screen.
Many children in school are unaware that they might need glasses and they struggle to see the board or see clearly the texts books being used by others in the class. This applies to children in Thailand but with the additional problem that their families are unable to afford the expense of going to an optician. As a result they fall behind other students, might consider leaving school, and fail to return to complete their education which does not bode well for their future. Away from the classroom, it is difficult to imagine the problems that children face when they unable to read a signpost or see oncoming traffic clearly to enable them to cross the road safely.
Nigel and William of PSC and Bernie from Jesters
Nittaya Patimasongkroh from the YWCA was aware of this problem many years ago and decided to do something about it. She joined forces with an American gentleman who was in the Air Force at the time, Dave Anderson, who was collecting glasses from his colleagues, bringing them to Thailand to have lenses made for selected children to help them with their studies. The situation has changed since then for YWCA have now been joined by Pattaya Sports Club, Jesters and an optician in Naklua.
The children wait patiently to be tested.
The teachers select the students that show signs of requiring some assistance. They receive a free eye test and PSC and Jesters donate the funds to enable prescription glasses to be provided to those in need. Strong plastic, brightly coloured lenses add to the excitement, the boys are reluctant to have the pink frames and opt for the more conservative black or dark blue whilst the girls are delighted to have pink, green and yellow frames.
We recently went to schools No. 5 and 9. Nearly 250 children were tested and 207 needed glasses. We all had a sense of achievement and were rewarded with broad grins when the children used the glasses for the first time and realise that everything was now clear and how much they had been affected by their less than perfect eye sight.
The girls are delighted.
Bright colourful frames are available.
A joint venture for YWCA, PSC and Jesters.
The children say thank you to all concerned.