Optometry Giving Sight is “the only global fundraising initiative specifically targeting the elimination of blindness and impaired vision due to ‘uncorrected refractive error.’” Their goal is to provide basic eyecare and eyewear to help millions of people around the world who live with vision problems and blindness that could be cured with relatively simple procedures or appropriate eyewear.
Many people in the developed world don’t realize that people around the globe are unable to receive basic health care. We don’t think about it, but how many people do you know who would barely be able to function if they did not have eyeglasses to correct a strong refractive error? Optometry Giving Sight aims to solve this problem by providing eye exams and eyewear, which can sometimes be provided for as little as $5.
Here are some of the facts that Optometry Giving Sight states about their mission:
• Uncorrected vision is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, but it is treatable!
• 670 million people are blind or vision impaired because they don’t have access to basic eyecare or eyewear.
• According to the World Health Organization (WHO), correcting vision with eyewear and working toward blindness prevention are some of the most cost-effective of all health interventions.
• In addition to being cost-effective, providing better sight can alleviate poverty. Blindness makes it nearly impossible for people in the developing world to work, creates great difficulty in finding or providing shelter for themselves or their families, and can be isolating and devastating to education and development (especially for those who are blind as children).
• Optometry Giving Sight has programs where it can cost as little as $5 to provide an eye examination and a pair of glasses to individuals in need. Without supplies and infrastructure to deliver these things, many people around the world will be left blind.
• Optometry Giving Sight is a partner in Our Children’s Vision. “Our Children’s Vision is an initiative working to ensure that effective, inclusive, sustainable eye health initiatives are available to children around the world, regardless of their economic status or geographical location.”
• 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
• About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.
• 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.
• Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment;
• 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.
It’s very important for eye care professionals to know about these programs and to help spread the word. There is a lot of good that can be done for relatively little money, and many of us are able to make a difference if we work together.