A survey participant tries on her new glasses

Community Spectacle Scheme

Improving access to eye health care in Aotearoa

Project summary

The SOVS George Cox Community Spectacle Scheme was established in 2021 to support community eye health research and teaching projects.

The Scheme will enable us to provide more comprehensive care, by eliminating the prohibitive cost many people face to accessing spectacles.

We will closely monitor and evaluate the scheme and assess the impact of improving access to spectacles.

In future, we also aim to explore the economics and financing of spectacles as part of the evidence base to make spectacles more accessible for all New Zealanders in the most sustainable way.

The scheme in action

In July 2021, the Community Eye Health research team commenced a pilot study for a population-based eye health survey. The pilot, recruiting residents in the Auckland suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure and Ōrākei, offered full eye examinations to people identified with distance or near vision impairment.

If people then required glasses, we were able to provide them, free of charge, thanks to the Community Spectacle scheme.

Below, Tang chats about her vision challenges, and the difference a pair of prescription glasses will make to her quality of life and sense of independence.


Survey participants collecting their new spectacles!

A female optometrist
A woman does the thumbs up while wearing a new pair of spectacles

Thanks to our supporters

The SOVS Community Spectacle Scheme has been made possible by the generous support of Helen Blake, Barbara Blake and Essilor.