B P Ariyarathna owns a small electrical repair shop in Yatiyantota, a remote town located in Kegalle District in Sri Lanka. Within his small shop the shelves are crammed full of wires, lamps, old TVs, radios and every flat surface is covered in other electrical paraphernalia. He’d found it increasingly difficult to see clearly when doing detailed welding of wires and other close work and for the last few years had used a magnifying glass to help him focus.
Mr Ariyarathna rides his motorbike from his home to work each day, the road a ten minute walk through dense vegetation and past paddy fields. His daughter, Rasika, one of the qualified Vision Technicians working in the vision centre established in Yatiyantota by Brien Holden Vision Institute, explained that her father needed bifocal glasses to enable him to work effectively and to also see clearly when riding on the road.
After an eye examination in the vision centre, Mr Ariyarayhna received a new pair of custom glasses, made in the optical workshop above the vision centre, by the trained spectacle technicians.
Prior to the vision centre opening, people in the area had little access to eye care. A further two vision centres have been established in the district, also supplied with customised spectacles made in the Yatiyantota optical workshop. The vision centre technicians and spectacle technicians were among a group of students selected by the Institute to travel to the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India for training, with three of those accepted into the four-year BS. Optometry degree program.