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Making affordable glasses

Rhonda Townsend is thrilled to learn that her new pair of spectacles are made from recycled materials; everything from milk bottle tops and beer keg lids to discarded fishing nets that wash up on the beaches of Arnhem Land, SBS reports.

The latter is an extra special feature for Ms Townsend.

“To know that our land’s being looked after, to know that things are coming from the land, because we’re all part of the land, being Indigenous, it’s wonderful,” she told SBS News.

The glasses are made by Dresden Optics, an Australian company that began as a start-up in 2015 and now owns six stores across Sydney and Melbourne.

Made “in the spirit of German design,” their regular frames are made from fully recyclable nylon, while others are moulded from other people’s rubbish. They retail at $49.

Another unique feature of Dresden is its mobile optometry clinic. The trailer runs on solar power and batteries and travels to remote and disadvantaged areas in Australia.

“The mobile clinic was really a way to get out into the community and actually provide a solution,” Dresden co-founder Bruce Jeffreys said.

“So many people need glasses and don’t have them, so the mobile clinic has been a great way to bust out of the city and serve places that need it.”

The mobile clinic targets Indigenous communities, where poor eye health is a problem.

Melanie Gould, the Aboriginal health coordinator for Sydney North Primary Health Network, says access to such services is often a barrier.

Cost, she adds, is another factor but the mobile service is tackling both accessibility and affordability. Patients are able to have their eyes tested and walk away with a prescription and new pair of glasses the very same day.


Global vision: One company’s mission to make affordable glasses (SBS)


Dresden Optics / YouTube