SOPB staff members join the recipients in a group photo at Balingian Community Hall.

MIRI: It was a happy moment for 164 residents in Balingian upon receiving free prescription spectacles from Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd (SOPB) during a simple ceremony at Balingian Community Hall recently.

The programme is the group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the ‘Vision Care’ project, which was launched in 2013.

The project’s key objectives are to create awareness among the rural community of healthy and quality living, and to lower the risks of preventable blindness amongst them.

Through ‘Vision Care’, the group runs annual screening for rural residents who would otherwise, face difficulties and challenges to gain access to eye-care facilities.

A 71-year-old villager reads with his brand new glasses.

The recipients are residents of nine longhouses and six villages across Balingian, who had registered for ‘Vision Care’ back in August.

“During the screening that was conducted by a team of qualified optometrists and medical officers, we identified 164 residents who really needed prescription glasses – seven of them were diagnosed with vision impairment, which required them to undergo further medical reviews, followed by treatments if necessary, at Mukah Hospital and Bintulu Hospital.

“The purpose of the medical review is to determine if the patients would need to undergo any pterygium or cataract surgery,” said SOPB in a press statement yesterday, adding that the logistical support, medical treatments and costs of surgery for these patients would be fully borne by the group.

Source: The Borneo Post, 20th October 2019, Home, Page 7; Borneo Post Online online –