Whilst maintaining his work as optometrist and co-founding partner of Leunig & Farmer Eyecare, in August John Farmer returns to Port Moresby, PNG to continue the management of a challenging and rewarding project.
Following Leunig & Farmer Eyecare’s long involvement in optometric training and development abroad, and borne of John’s desire to bring the people of PNG the same access to eyecare that Australia enjoys, the project involves establishing an optical workshop in Port Moresby. “Many of the people in PNG do not have access to eyecare, and what care is available they simply cannot afford. I am helping to change that,” explains John.
This project is being sponsored by the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), an Australian, not for profit organization that delivers eye care programs worldwide.
Already, the newly renovated workshop can manufacture simple spherical lenses for glasses, and it is anticipated that following John’s visit early this month, the workshop will also be able to manufacture more complex bifocal and cylinder lenses to cater to a broader range of visual deficits.
During his most recent visit, John’s focus in the workshop meant rolling up his sleeves and being hands on with setting up optical equipment and products, installing phone lines and broadband, establishing bank accounts, completing the physical set up of furniture and office supplies and meeting with the local ophthalmologists all whilst the workshop was already in operation.
Being physically present in the workshop during operation enabled John to spend time training the staff to deal with various optometric situations as they arose, such as prescriptions, refractive errors, associated symptoms and the optical correction of these problems. “I believe in teaching what is needed”, says John, “to understand and be able to deal with the problems that commonly present, and doing so by building the skill and knowledge up layer by layer.”
John’s August trip will focus on the continuation of training, with an emphasis on the manufacture of complex lenses, and ordering custom made lenses from a laboratory as is done in Gippsland. Appropriate office and accounting procedures for the workshop will also be set up.
John says he is feeling “delighted” about the project, as it is something he has wanted to do for many years and is deeply satisfied by seeing it come together. His involvement is fuelled by his keenness to help others. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to make a real significant difference in a time and place where others were not doing anything to help. I believe it is a part of what God created me to do.”
“It is a logical extension to use my skills and knowledge to help others in developing countries as well as here in Gippsland. My patients at Leunig & Farmer Eyecare are fantastic and continue to give me great satisfaction. The support of these patients and those people within the business help make my continued involvement possible, and for that I am extremely grateful,” says John.
If you would like to make a donation to the workshop in PNG, please visit your local Leunig & Farmer Eyecare in Drouin, Moe, Pakenham or Warragul.