When I was thirty, I had laser surgery on my eyes. It cost me a couple of thousand dollars, but I felt it was worth it as it meant I no longer had to wear glasses or contact lenses for my relatively mild short-sightedness. If anyone asks me about it in the years since, I say it was well worth the money.
I almost feel ill when I compare that now to the millions of people in developing countries who stay needlessly blind because they live in poverty. Do you know how much it costs to restore eyesight to a lot of these people? $25.
If you live in a developing country, and you are blind, it arguably has a larger impact on your life than if you are blind in a developed country. If you are blind in a developing country, chances are you will not be educated. You will have no independence. You will not have the ability to work or make a living.
Our November funds went to the Fred Hollows Foundation, and will provide eye cataract surgery to 27 people in developing countries.
The Foundation, set up by humanitarian and eye surgeon Fred Hollows, works in more than 25 developing countries with the aim of making sure everyone, whether they’re rich or poor, has access to high-quality, affordable eye health. They are working towards a world where no person is unnecessarily blind.
It’s pretty clear to see, with knock on effects of increased education, employment and independence, good eyesight is a key element in breaking the cycle of poverty.