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Kelowna  

Recycle your old eye glasses

One of the Okanagan’s top eye doctors has teamed up with a charity organization to offer eyeglass recycling in Kelowna.

Ron Baldassare of Vivid Laser Centre provides different types of surgery for reducing or eliminating a person’s need for glasses, and now his customer’s unwanted frames and lenses will be used once again.

The eyeglasses will be collected by volunteers from the local Lions Club and sent overseas to those in need through help from Canadian Vision Care.

“Vision is so fundamental to our quality of life, and for children. So much of how they learn is visual,” said Dr. Baldassare. “In most developing countries, an eye exam can cost as much as one month’s wages; your gift of glasses that you no longer need is the gift of sight that can change lives.”

Longtime volunteer Bill McCarry welcomes the idea in Kelowna. He has personally picked up more than 50,000 eyeglasses since 2004 and sorts them in his garage before boxing them up for shipping them to a national recycling centre in Calgary.

“This is my fifteenth year volunteering with the Recycle for Sight Program, and I’m so excited to see a new depot established at Vivid Laser Centre — a central location that is open and accessible to all,” he says. 

The glasses will be sent to community projects in developing nations in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Canadian Vision Care’s recent project in the Philippines saw a rusty, abandoned commuter rail car converted to well-equipped eye clinic. With the help of Canadian optometrists, the clinic offers free eye health exams and glasses to millions of working poor in a city recently devastated by a massive typhoon.

Kelowna residents can drop off glasses at Vivid Laser Centre, located at 1571 Sutherland Avenue, just off Highway 97.

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