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Riverside Park - Suite 3 / 392-398 Manns Rd, West Gosford NSW 2250
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Wendy's Last Day

Amanda Rungis - Saturday, February 10, 2018
Today we sadly said farewell to Wendy. She joined Sure Eye Care (then Sure Optical at Lisarow) in May 2010. This makes Wendy my longest serving employee.

How it all began

I met Wendy at friend’s 40th. She was struggling to find paid employment as she had been raising her children for the last two decades. So in a traditional recruitment sense she had no experience or references. I did what all management coaches and books tell you NOT TO DO - hired someone simply on intuition and a desire to help.

Shining Star


From the very first day it was clear that Wendy was great with patients. She had a talent for knowing what made individuals unique and about the best way to serve each person. She is a very caring and empathic lady.

Gaining Qualifications

Wanting to improve her skills, in 2015 Wendy gained her Optical Dispenser qualifications. Wendy was inspiring to watch that year. She worked full time and attended TAFE in Sydney one day a week. All while balancing her love and commitment for family and friends.

At graduation Wendy gave the Thank You speech on behalf of all 2015 graduates. Someone very respected in the industry said to me - “I have been going to these for a long time. That was the best Thank You speech I have ever heard!” Why? Because Wendy spoke from the heart about how passionate she was about helping patients.

Craving New Challenges


Wendy has always demonstrated a desire to increase her knowledge. So it is very exciting that she has been offered a position with a larger independent optometry practice David Hendry EyeQ Optometrists in Berowra Heights. I have known and respected David since 1993 when we did a post graduate course together at UNSW. I am sure he will be an amazing mentor.

I shall miss seeing Wendy’s beautiful smiling face at Sure Eye Care. Not only has she been a wonderful employee, she has been a great friend.

The Exciting News

As with all things in life there is balance. So as we say sadly say goodbye to Wendy, we happily look forward to introducing our newest team member Mel next week.

Christmas / New Year opening hours

Amanda Rungis - Monday, December 11, 2017
We will be closing for our well deserved Christmas break at 12 pm on Saturday 23rd. We look forward to serving you again from Monday 8th January 2018. Merry Christmas and wishing you health, happiness and abundance in 2018. ~ Amanda, Sarah and Team SEC

Reignited Purpose

Amanda Rungis - Sunday, November 26, 2017

There are conditions we learn about at university, but we never see in practice. I have been an optometrist for 25 years and I have never for example diagnosed a brain tumour. I have had patients come in concerned that they may have a brain tumour. But the symptoms have quite often been explained by something simpler e.g. needing reading glasses.

A stressful year

I have had a lot of stress this year. My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer just before Christmas – successfully treated with radiotherapy. Then lung cancer around Easter – again successfully treated, this time with immunotherapy. Now he has chronic kidney disease. Also, as any small business owner will tell you, there are often various challenges at any one time. Small business isn't for the feint hearted.

I had developed neck pain and associated headaches. Visits to the chiropractor, physiotherapist and massage therapist weren't providing any relief. Everything was attributed to stress. Sure – I had plenty of that!

Then fortunately, I damaged my car driving out of Woolworths Gosford. I misjudged and scraped the left-hand side of my car along the concrete wall. The concrete wall won! Confused and concerned I drove straight to Sure Eye Care and noticed that despite my best efforts I couldn't park between the lines properly. At this stage I was thinking - maybe a retinal detachment?

Sarah performed a computerised visual field examination on me and I did it perfectly. Then came the scary realisation that if it isn't my eyes, it must be my brain. Given by blood pressure had at times this year been greater than 170/110 I figured I may have had a stroke.

On Friday the 13th October I had a MRI and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Here I again was fortunate. My GP rang the neurosurgeon he most respected in Sydney. He happened to be on the Central Coast and if I could get to Element in Erina in the next hour he'd see me that day.

So only 2 hours after my MRI my husband I and sat in shock and listened to a neurosurgeon explain that I had a brain tumour the size of a plum. That I was going into hospital on Tuesday and having brain surgery on Wednesday.

The pure terror of diagnosis.

What do people say when things are rough? “Well at least you don’t have a brain tumour” and “It’s not brain surgery”. Except now you do and yes, it is.

The days between diagnosis and surgery were a mixture of shock, fear and denial. By Sunday, when we went to the Gosford City Farmers Market, I could barely walk. The tumour had started to affect the entire left side of my body. I hadn't been even able to dress myself without help that morning. I was trying to use a walking stick but as my brain wouldn’t register it was there I was just kicking it out of the way. It was hilarious. My husband ended up grabbing it off me and getting me to lean on him.

On Wednesday 18th October I was wheeled into brain surgery. The theatre nurse greeted me with “I’m not going to ask you how you are because that’s a stupid question.” Then she had to check my name, DOB and the surgery I was having. Given everything had happened so quickly it was the first time I had to say the words “brain tumour”. Even now 5 weeks later thinking of that moment makes me shiver. I kissed my husband goodbye and they wheeled me in. I set an intention that I would see him again.

Waking from surgery

Surgery is obviously easier for then one being operated on than for their nearest and dearest. I have an insight into this based on a letter my husband wrote me while he waited the 2.5 hours I was in surgery. With his permission I share the despair he felt - “The reality is that I’m sitting here typing this and you’re maybe 50 metres away with your life, and our future in the hands of a bunch of people who I hadn’t even heard of 5 days ago.”

The next thing I was conscious of was waking up and seeing the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Eyes are obviously my thing being an optometrist. When I first met Gordon at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service black tie ball in 2010, I immediately noticed his eyes. And the fact that he wasn’t wearing a black tie (but that’s another story).

Gordon’s eyes smile when he's happy, and his eyes were beaming. I was alive and breathing. We chatted for a while and suddenly he said, “Welcome back my love”. My cognitive decline and my behaviour changes had obviously been too slow and subtle for him to notice at the time. But now, with most of the tumour gone, I was back to my old chatty self.

Alive and breathing, AND walking!

The first 12 hours after brain surgery aren't fun. They wake you every hour to check your name, DOB, where you are, what day it is, what date it is, your pupil reactions and your reflexes. They're effectively checking that you don’t have a brain bleed that would mean rushing back to theatre.

My overnight nurse Andrew and I developed a good rapport. I was very grateful for his presence as they'd sent Gordon home. I could remember the date as it happened to be Sure Eye Care’s 12th birthday on the day of surgery. Something Sarah, also known as Miss Positivity, took to be a very positive sign.

But I couldn’t remember what day it was. “Are you serious? Days merged into a hazy confusion the moment I was diagnosed.” So, Andrew taught me it was Wednesday. Great! I was so excited - when he next entered the room and asked, “What day is it?”, I confidently answered “Wednesday”. To which he replied with a cheeky smile “Nope. It’s past midnight. It’s Thursday.”. To which I answered, “Now you’re just being a bastard and having fun with the brain impaired person.”

Having survived those first 12 dangerous post-surgery hours, I was excited to see the dawn start creeping into ICU. Once they removed all the tubes and monitors, the physiotherapist arrived with a walker to see whether I could walk. After just a couple of steps she let me attempt walking unaided. The sense of achievement I felt doing 2 laps around ICU is hard to explain. I have been celebrating ever since by walking along Gosford Waterfront every morning.

The day after surgery

Next Challenges

Pathology confirmed that the tumour was malignant. So, on Monday 13th November (exactly a month since diagnosis) I started radiotherapy and a trial drug therapy for 6 weeks. My last radiotherapy treatment will be on Friday 22nd December. I'll then have a month off and have another MRI to see what future treatments may be necessary.

The radio-oncologist seems optimistic as according to him the surgeon has done such a good job that it's made his life easy. So far so good. I have completed the first of 2 weeks treatment. No side effects yet, but apparently, I'm likely to start feeling fatigued soon.

The first day of radiotherapy

What about Sure Eye Care?

When I first opened Sure Optical at Lisarow Plaza in 2005 I envisioned it evolving into a larger preventative eye care practice with several optometrists. That vision became a reality when Sarah joined us in 2014 and we then moved to Riverside Park in 2015. Sure Optical was very much my baby but Sure Eye Care (SEC) is much greater than just me. I'm sure Team SEC (as we call ourselves) will happily give the same comprehensive and caring service that we're known for in my absence.

In the first instance my husband Gordon took over running daily operations at SEC. I want to take this opportunity to officially thank Gordon for immediately jumping in and looking after SEC when I was diagnosed. No one else could have done that. He already had a very thorough sense of SEC so could immediately step in as owner.

Gordon also cares sincerely for all SEC staff. He made it a priority to make sure there wasn’t any unnecessary stress on them, and that they had certainty that everything would be OK. But that's all meant that he hasn’t been able to focus on ReviveR as much as he could have. When ReviveR first opened I spent a lot of time and energy on it, and Sure Optical suffered. I don't want Gordon and ReviveR to end up in the same position, especially as besides being the busiest time of year, the ATO is opening soon.

Given we have now been able to appoint an acting General Manager David Norris of Active Assist, Gordon can safely return to focus on ReviveR without anyone having any fears of what'll happen at SEC. Given ReviveR is Gordon’s highest priority, I honestly have tears of gratitude streaming down my face that he was prepared to make SEC his number 1 priority for the last 5 weeks.

Who's David?

David is my business coach, mentor and close friend. We have been working together for a decade so despite not being in the industry he understands SEC very well. I have always been in awe of David’s wisdom. There's not a single meeting in the last 10 years that I haven’t learnt something. David is a close friend of both Gordon and me. He has seen us at our best and at our worst. He did the reading at our wedding. He was there for us the day after I was released from hospital and having a rare “woe is me” day.

Principal Optometrist - Dr Sarah Tait (B. Optom. Hons, B. Sc.)

Sarah has stepped into the role of principal optometrist. It's been my honour and privilege to mentor her the last 3 years. She's an exceptional optometrist. I have no reservation recommending her to all my patients. After all she's my optometrist. Plus, by helping me diagnose by own brain tumour, she literally saved my life, for which I'm obviously very grateful.

Most importantly, I know she shares my vision of SEC being the greatest preventative eye care practice in the region.

The rest of Team SEC

Sarah will be supported by Patient Care Manager Wendy Penn (who has been with me for 7 years) and Optometric Assistants Chesney Walker and Jake Vernon-Elliot. So, I don't anticipate any change to your patient experience during my enforced sabbatical.

Wendy is my longest serving employee. I met her at a social gathering. She was struggling to find paid employment as she'd been raising her children for the last decade. In a traditional recruitment sense, she'd no experience or references. So, I did what all management coaches (including David) and books tell you NOT TO DO and hired someone simply on intuition and a desire to help. I’m so glad I did. I couldn’t imagine Sure Eye Care or my life without her. She has been a wonderful employee for the last 7 years and a great friend throughout this unexpected challenge.

Chesney and Jake joined us this year. They're both young, inspiring, hard-working and devoted employees. I'm unspeakably grateful for all of Team SEC. They've functioned well under very challenging happenings.

Why a reignited purpose?

I had spent all this year highly stressed. I no longer found it easy to get out of bed let alone get to work. There were some days that I literally thought I was having a breakdown. I had feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty.

I couldn’t understand. I had wanted to be an optometrist since the age of 15 when I completed work experience for an independent Optometrist. That interest became a deeply personal mission when Macular Degeneration (Australia’s leading cause of preventable blindness) claimed my Grandfather’s (Opa) vision in 2003. That was the defining moment that drove me to open my own practice and invest in the best technology available to ensure that all my patients had the best possibility of seeing well into the future.

Being diagnosed with a brain tumour and surviving brain surgery does make one re-examine one’s highest values and purpose. For me it's reignited my purpose to offer exceptional preventative eye care. For the moment I'll have to do that remotely via Team SEC. I'm currently fully committed to being well again and returning to SEC in 2018. Honestly I miss my patients, my team and most of all helping others.

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

This is the most common question I receive. If you're reading this you're likely either a patient of Sure Eye Care, a patron of ReviveR or perhaps both. Obviously both businesses have had some unexpected challenges with my diagnosis. Gordon and I had really appreciate your support now.

If your or your family members are overdue for an eye examination, please make an appointment to see Sarah. I'm a good example of why you should never ignore symptoms. Yet, with eye disease there aren’t always symptoms in the early stages. That's why an annual eye examination is recommended for anyone over 5 years of age.

If your planning Christmas drinks with friends or a Christmas party, please consider making a booking at ReviveR. I love the egg nog - but sadly none for me this year. I’ll have to see if Gordon can invent me a ketogenic diet (low carb) cocktail. Given the brain tumour was the size of a plum, we could call it the “Plum Squisher”.

If you currently don’t need either service, but you value what we do, please share this blog. Or tell family, friends and colleagues about Sure Eye Care and ReviveR. Gordon and I would sincerely appreciate it.

My belief

Since my brain tumour journey began 6 weeks ago people have been commenting on the strength and positivity I've displayed, and that I'm an inspiration. I take no credit. I attribute my attitude and my resolve to the wisdom I've gained from Dr John Demartini over the last decade. Dr Demartini is a Human Behaviour Specialist, Leadership & Performance Expert, Author and Business Consultant. I've read many of his books, listened to his CDs, watched his DVDs and webinars, and attended his courses both in Sydney and in Houston, USA.

I was very grateful that Dr John Demartini was in Australia presenting Prophecy II (his 5-day mind body healing course) exactly between my surgery and radiotherapy starting. He only presents this course in Australia about every 4 years so the synchronicity of this was not lost on me.

“You won’t experience challenges that are beyond you to manage” Dr John Demartini.

I have every faith the universe wouldn't grant Gordon and I something we couldn't manage. I have every faith I'll be well again. I'm approaching this “Brain Plum” with all the commitment and determination I have used to build Sure Eye Care. I believe the Plum doesn’t stand a chance of staying!

With Dr John Demartini at Prophecy II in Sydney, November 2017

Sarah Returns To Cambodia To Help More People

Sure Optical - Monday, November 20, 2017

I was lucky enough to return to Cambodia this year to do more volunteer work as an optometrist with Cambodia Vision. We were in the same location as last year, Pursat Provincial Hospital. This meant that I was able to hit the ground running as I knew the layout of the hospital and the patient flow.  In the team there were some familiar faces from last year, and some new faces. I was amazed at how passionate everyone was; this enthusiasm definitely helped to carry me through when I felt the exhaustion kicking in (so did the extremely strong Cambodian coffee!).

I was very excited to have the same translator, Siv Naseth, who I worked with last year. There was no way that I could have done my job without him and he worked the twelve hour days alongside me, with a smile on his face. I was honoured to be asked by Siv to test his Grandfather’s eyes and I was able to provide him with a pair of glasses to improve his vision; the smile on his face was priceless.  

This year we saw over 3600 patients, ranging from babies to the very elderly. For every patient that I saw, I really wanted to do something to improve their quality of life:  this ranged from offering them cataract surgery, glasses or just reassurance that their eyes were healthy.

There were some very sad cases where not much could be done to improve vision. However, even in those cases, being able to provide a pair of sunglasses or lubricating eye drops could improve comfort for these people.   For the majority of patients we were able to make a significant improvement to their vision.

It was great to see some patients who had cataract surgery done with us last year, return this year to get the second eye done.

It was an invaluable learning experience that will benefit my patients back in Australia. We always had an ophthalmologist on hand to help out with the more tricky ocular pathology. I was involved in some fascinating cases and saw things that I had only previously seen in text books.

One of the benefits of returning for a second time was that last year I was largely caught up in the whirlwind and the sheer volume of patients that I was seeing each day. This year I was mindful to take a moment to reflect and make sure that I was focused on the patient in front of me. When you are seeing hundreds of people a day, it is easy to let each person become a number. I wanted each interaction with the individual patient to be a positive experience for them, and to make the hours that they had to wait worth it. 

Cambodia will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t wait until my next opportunity to return and help preserve and protect the vision of its people.

~Sarah

Rodenstock and Sure Eye Care - 7 years of partnership delivering unrivalled vision

Amanda Rungis - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

We were very honoured to have distinguished guests today - Günter Raichle (Managing Director, Rodenstock Thailand Operations and Asia Pacific Sales) and Tim McCann (General Manager, Rodenstock Australia). When you work in a beautiful space like Sure Eye Care every day, it's easy to forget what's been created. It was lovely to hear their enthusiastic feedback given how many practices all around the world they both see.

I'll never fully be able to express my gratitude to Martin Tuktens of Prinzip Design. He made my vision of a hybrid practice (a cross between a standard optometrist and a medical practice) a reality. Together we felt like we invented a new architectural style we called “Scandinavian Medical”. If you haven’t visited us yet, you can take the virtual tour.

I didn’t want just another optometrist where you walk in and all you see is rows and rows of frames. That was why the custom-made pivot wall that houses the Rodenstock Lens Hub and ImpressionIST® was such an integral part of the design. When you walk in, lenses are more prominent than the frames. Reflecting our belief that the most important thing about visiting your eye care professional is leaving seeing exceptionally well.

That's why we have chosen Rodenstock to be are main lens supplier for the last 7 years. There are great quality differences between lenses. The Rodenstock brand represents the value of German-made product - quality, tradition and security. There are many years of research, knowledge and revolutionary technologies in their innovative products.

We're privileged that Rodenstock has chosen to partner with us. They've entrusted us with their superior lenses. We're the only Central Coast supplier of their entire lens range including Rodenstock Road driving lenses and Ergo computer lenses. Also, we use the most innovative technology for exact eye measurement. The ImpressionIST® consultation terminal is a 3D stereo camera for determining your individual data automatically. Thanks to this technology, you receive an unmatched individual and precision result - in short, the perfect glasses.

If you'd like to experience maximum comfort, sharp and high-contrast vision, ensure your next lenses are Rodenstock. As they say “See better. Look perfect." Book online for an eye examination and Rodenstock lens expert consultation.

Announcing our EOFY Sunglasses Sale

Sure Optical - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WEIRD FACT - Sarah, Amanda, Jenny and Wendy are all born in June. So, to celebrate us June-babies, we're having an End of Financial Year Sunglasses Sale.

We thought each one of us would give you 10% off. Which adds up to an amazing 40% off all sunglasses.

Why is it so important to protect your eyes from UV?

Research by the Australian Skin Cancer Foundation found that your eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV radiation than your skin. And that your eyes are susceptible to both short and long-term effects of UV rays.

Quality sunglasses offer UV protection year-round. They're the best solution for protecting your eyes and those of your family from the risk of eye disease and relation vision loss.

Also, being the EOFY, remember that the ATO accepts sun protection tax deductions. If it's necessary for you to regularly work outside or contend with the damaging rays of the sun, sunglasses can be claimed. Workers who could claim sun protection tax deductions include:

  • Couriers and delivery people
  • Real estate agents
  • Pilots and airline staff
  • Builders and tradespeople
  • Farmers
  • Landscapers and gardeners
  • Sports professionals, coaches and trainers
  • And more - ask your accountant if you’re eligible

So, there's never been a better time to protect your eyes from the sun. See us for quality UV protection in styles you’ll love. But come in quickly as this offer is only available until the end of June or while stocks last.

How healthy is your macula?

Amanda Rungis - Monday, May 22, 2017

This is Macular Degeneration Awareness Week. Macular degeneration (MD) is the most common cause of blindness in Australia. It affects 1 in 7 Australians over the age of 50. A direct family history of macular degeneration brings a 50% chance of developing the disease.

The condition is progressive and leads to central vision loss. This has a huge impact on quality of life as it affects the patient’s ability to do everyday tasks such as reading and driving. If left untreated the damage can become irreparable and cause blindness.

MD claimed my grandfather’s vision. He lost his sight, then lost his independence and as a result gave up the will to live. He said to my grandmother, his wife of 58 years, that the thing he missed most was her beautiful face.

That’s why I've always ensured that the optometrists at Sure Optical have the latest technologies for the early detection of MD. We're the only practice on the Central Coast to offer both the MPOD (macular pigment screening) and Optical Coherence Tomography (3D scan of the macula). We call this as our Advanced Macular Examination.

Advanced Macular Examination is recommended for all adults over 40, especially those with known risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Increasing age
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

Upon evaluation and detection of those at high risk of developing MD, we can recommend options for reducing the risk and potentially protecting your vision. For example, low levels of macular pigment can be improved simply through diet, vitamin supplements and / or lifestyle changes.

To ensure your macula is examined as thoroughly as possible please call us on 43297000 or book online.

"Fixing Screenagers" Presentation - Wednesday 3rd May 6:45pm

Sure Optical - Thursday, April 27, 2017

2 out of 3 children spend more than 2 hours a day using digital devices. This concerns most parents. Excessive use of iPads, iPhones and other screens are causing problems with children’s necks, posture and eyes. Central Coast Spinal Care Centre and Sure Eye Care are holding an educational seminar to answer your concerns.

The talk will begin with Chiropractors Dr Angus Steventon and Dr Bryce Conrad, who'll speak about:

  • The implications of “TechNeck” and “iPosture” on the adult and child spine
  • How to minimise impact and reduce neck pain, headaches and the development of a “hunch back”

Next, Optometrists Dr Amanda Rungis and Dr Sarah Tait will talk about:

  • The epidemic of short-sightedness putting our kids at risk and how it relates to excessive screen time
  • Treatments that help slow short-sightedness
  • Blue light protection - why it's important that we protect our kids from blue light emitted in excessive amounts from screens

There will be plenty of time at the end of the talk to answer your questions. 

Spaces are limited so book online now or call 4337 6000 to avoid disappointment.  All proceeds from the evening will be donated to Optometry Giving Sight.


Dry eye – there's hope!

Amanda Rungis - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Do you suffer from dry eyes? Do your eyes water excessively? Have you been given eye drops but they just don’t seem to work?

I understand completely. I have had dry eye since my early 20s. So I am always searching for the latest treatments available.

Dry eye symptoms can be caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD occurs when glands along the upper and lower eyelids are blocked. This reduces the amount of oil (meibum) in the tear film, resulting in poor tear quality and increased evaporation of the tears.

We have just invested in innovative technology to treat dry eye - Blephasteam®. This is an in-practice therapy used to treat MGD and relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. It involves gently heating the eyelids and then massage of the glands. This encourages melting of the blocked meibum and results in better tear quality.

Blephasteam is very safe and effective, though not very fashionable (see photo of me below). Anybody with MGD will benefit from Blephasteam therapy. Also, people with other conditions such as blepharitis, chalazion, dry eyes, contact lens intolerance and ocular rosacea may also benefit.

Each session takes 15 minutes and most patients require at least 3 sessions. Extra relief of dry eye symptoms will be achieved with at-home treatments such as:

  • Lubricating eye-drops
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Eyelid cleansers
  • Eye masks

Dry eye is preventable or treatable. If dry eyes bother you, now is the time to book a dry eye consultation. You can book online or call 4337 6000 and speak to one of my wonderful team members.

~ Amanda

Sure Eye Care presented Diamond Award for World Sight Day Challenge 2016

Amanda Rungis - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'm proud to announce that Sure Eye Care has been presented the Diamond Award for the World Sight Day Challenge 2016. Highballs for Eyeballs, our annual fundraiser co-hosted with ReviveR cocktail bar, raised $13,270 for Optometry Giving Sight. Worldwide that's the highest amount achieved by any optometry practice last year. So how did it all happen?

5 years ago, my husband Gordon Ryan and I came up with a “out of the box” idea. Gordon had just opened ReviveR, Central Coast’s first classic cocktail bar, in Gosford. Jokes about me helping people see and Gordon sending people blind were rife. So, we thought we’d have some fun and we came up with Highballs for Eyeballs, a fundraiser for the World Sight Day Challenge.

The World Sight Day Challenge is a major fundraising campaign coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight (OGS). It's designed to raise funds and awareness about avoidable blindness. OGS supply training, establish vision centres and deliver eye care services for people who are blind or vision impaired due to uncorrected refractive error. Simply, they need an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

The original idea for Highballs, as we now affectionally call it, was simple. We invited people to ReviveR for a complimentary Green-Eyed Girl and canapes. In return we asked for a donation to OGS. Gordon created the Green-Eyed Girl cocktail exclusively for the event. It's a very tasty combination of gin, tonic, Midori and for the “eyes” kiwifruit slices.

The first year we set out to raise $1000. At the end of the first night we were blown away by the response. We'd managed to raise over $3000. And so, Highballs became an annual event. Highballs has evolved. We now have live auctions, silent auctions and a balloon raffle. We have been awarded the Platinum Award every year. We have also held the Australian Practice of the Year title every year.

Our goal last year was to raise $10,000 for the 10th anniversary of World Sight Day Challenge. It was a massive goal given that we raised just under $6,000 in 2015. I'm proud to say that we not only met our goal, we smashed it! We raised $13,270 thanks to the great generosity of all those who joined us on the evening, the businesses that donated goods and services, the people who donated online and the passion of my staff.

It's the first year a Diamond Award has been presented to an Australian optometry practice. Optometry Giving Sight’s national country manager, Ron Baroni, officially presented us with the award last week at Sure Eye Care.

At the presentation, Mr Baroni explained that funds raised through World Sight Day Challenge not only help by providing the eye exams and glasses to restore people’s vision, but also “teach them to fish” so that communities can help themselves. “In June 2016, 20 optometry students graduated in Nicaragua, a country that's never had access to optometrists before,” said Mr Baroni. “This means the estimated 1 million people in Nicaragua who are needlessly vision impaired, many of whom are children, now have access to locally trained optometrists who can provide sustainable vision care services.”

I dreamed of being an optometrist since I was 15 years old. The fact that our fundraising means that other young people will achieve that goal is a priceless reward. The fact that they'll then help millions of people see is extraordinary.

I sincerely thank all our attendees, donors, sponsors and staff who have been involved in Highballs for Eyeballs over the years. Without your help, Gordon and I couldn't achieve our vision of helping prevent blindness not just locally, but globally! ~ Amanda


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