Bringing vision from Bronx to Equador

A Westchester Square eyecare store is reaching out thousands of miles to help bring vision to the elderly in South America.

Metro Optics at 25 Westchester Square is helping by donating 100 pairs of adjustable, variable focus glasses to the Harvest Fields Church for its July mission trip to Ecuador.

Metro Optics split the cost of the donated glasses with Adlens®, a company that markets the adjustable reading or long-distance vision glasses called Emergensee™.

The glasses have adjustable lenses where the user simply covers one eye while “tuning in” the vision on the other eye.

These glasses are designed to be used if someone loses their glasses or needs an emergency replacement, but they can be used in other ways in places where eyecare doctors are not available, said Metro Optics co-owner John Bonizio.

“When I first saw these devices at Vision Expo in New York, I immediately understood how beneficial they would be for people without adequate access to traditional eyecare facilities,” Bonizio said at a ceremonial announcement of the donation on Friday, June 14.

“About a week later, I was approached by a parishioner at Harvest Fields who was seeking spare parts and old glasses for a mission trip to Ecuador.”

Bonizio contacted the local church, and then reached out to marketer Adlens®, which agreed to co-sponser the donation.

Bonizio stressed that these glasses are not a substitute for eye exams, which can catch diseases of the eye early.

The need for glasses first became apparent when church members heard from sources in Guayaquil, Ecuador that older people cannot read their bibles because they do not have access to vision correcting lenses, said mission team leader Maria Chachere.

“The elderly have bibles, but they cannot read them,” said Chachere. “So the glasses will help with the elderly because they will be able to read the bibles.”

The glasses will also be used as the need becomes apparent in their Vacation Bible School for children in Equador, said Chachere, noting that “the children might not be able to see, and we don’t know that.”

“When we go there, I think one of goals now is to use the glasses and to speak with the children, play with them, and ask them if they can see certain things,” said Chachere. “Then maybe put the glasses on and see if they can see it better. What an amazing gift these glasses are to children, so that they can see!”

Ed McGinn of Adlens said its founder James Chen also founded the non-profit philanthropic organization Vision for a Nation that provides adjustable lens glasses to people in need in Rowanda.

McGinn said the effect of getting glasses on people who never had them is extraordinary.

“It is truly remarkable that now you can train medical aides to go out and put glasses onto people and adjust them,” he said. “Seeing that is truly remarkable.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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