18 Jun 2012

New Zealanders donate reading glasses

5:15 am on 18 June 2012

New Zealanders are being encouraged to donate their reading glasses to their local Lions club as part of a recycling programme to help readers in the Pacific.

A member of the Papakura Lions club says the programme has been running for several years and his team processes up to ten thousand pairs of glasses each year from all over the North Island.

Barry Thrupp says retired optometrists are involved in distributing the glasses to people in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Bouganville.

He says the reading glasses are cleaned and measured before they're sent away.

"They go through an ultra sonic washer that washes them, they're dried and then we put them through a lens meter. The lens meter prints the existing prescription that's on the reading glass, it prints out, we stick the glass and the printed slip into a plastic bag, seal it up and then they just get packed up in cartons."

Barry Thrupp says the glasses are given freely to the recipients and the work and travel involved is all voluntary.