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Downtown Eastside sees Clearly

Vancouver, B.C.—Life can be difficultin the Downtown Eastside. Poor vision only makes it worse.

“It affects everything I do,” says Downtown Eastside resident Evelyn. “Without glasses I can’t function at all.”

Without proper eyewear, Evelyn’s sight is reduced to just a few feet. She can’t read or write, can’t recognize faces and can’t easily complete the most basic of tasks. “Without glasses I won’t be able to see a key in the lock,” says Evelyn.

Surviving on government assistance, Evelyn never thought new glasses were an option. Until last summer when Union Gospel Mission partnered with Vancouver-based Clearly, providing Evelyn new progressive lenses and empowering her to live more independently.

“I am very thankful,” says Evelyn. “They are clearly angels.”

This Thursday, dozens more will have their lives transformed when UGM and Vancouver-based Clearly partner to offer prescription glasses to anyone who brings a written prescription. The glasses will be ready for pickup within several weeks.

“Our mission at Clearly is to make vision care accessible worldwide and this includes helping those in our own backyard,” says Clearly CEO Roy Hessel.

“For many in the Downtown Eastside, good glasses are out of reach,” says UGM President Bill Mollard.  “That limits their job prospects, sense of independence and ability to care for their families.  A simple pair of glasses truly can change a life.”



World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October. Despite the fact that 80% of visual impairment is avoidable, an estimated 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, including 19 million children. Through its charity initiative, Change the View, Clearly has provided vision aid to 550,000 people since 2011.


Date:              Clearly Vision Day, Thursday October 8th
Time:             9:00 – 1:00
Where:         Maurice McElrea Place, 361 Heatley Avenue

NOTE: To receive glasses, a prescription must be presented. Eye exams are not provided.


Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for 75 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counselling, education, safe housing and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild lives and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit

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