Photo © Courtesy of Giving Sight
Communities worldwide suffer from unnecessary blindness or vision impairment simply because they don’t have access to eye exams and appropriate glasses. Optometry Giving Sight is on a mission to change that reality. By focusing on support for sustainable solutions in underserved communities, Optometry Giving Sight aims to permanently solve this problem for the 1.2 billion people who need their help to see.
When you give the gift of sight, you also give the gift of hope and life. From schoolchildren who are able to succeed in their studies to future health professionals making a difference in their communities, Optometry Giving Sight allows transformational journeys to begin.
For an active, intelligent and successful student who always liked to perform well in school, it was concerning when, at the age of ten, Alejandra’s class performance started declining. She began to have problems reading words from the school board and recognizing people and signs from a distance.
“Fear,” she said, is the only word that comes to her mind when Alejandra was asked how she felt. Over time the fear started to turn into distress, and she began to develop the habit of putting her head in her hands and resting like that for a long time – it all seemed to be too much.
Her parents looked for a solution to the difficulty their daughter was experiencing. Unfortunately, eye care services are expensive and not close to Alejandra’s town community.
Luckily, the following year Alejandra’s school was invited to participate in a school screening program implemented by Ver Bien, supported by funding partner Optometry Giving Sight.
Having a comprehensive eye examination and the correctly prescribed glasses helped Alejandra greatly improve the quality of her life and allowed her youthful ambitions to open up again.
“My life is easy now,” Alejandra said happily. “I can see all my friends walking to school, so I feel part of life again. I can see the school board and play catch again, my favorite lunch recess game.”
Samuel’s Dream Come True
With the goal of pursuing a career within the medical sciences, Samuel Chagwadira became one of Malawi’s first-ever optometrists in 2012. Optometry Giving Sight was one of the funding partners that aided in the establishment of the Malawi School of Optometry.
As one of the first students in the program, Samuel remembers the early challenges when the university had limited equipment and resources.
Samuel said that graduating was like a dream come true, and that he will always cherish the memories of his time with lecturers and classmates.
“To be part of the first group of graduate optometrists in Malawi feels great,” he said. “It is history in the making; we’ve written history!”
To learn more, visit GivingSight.org.
With the support of the optometry industry, optometry professionals, patients and donors, Optometry Giving Sight funds programs to deliver desperately needed vision care, train local eye care professionals, and develop sustainable infrastructure in developing countries.