Next Thursday, on October 13, I suggest we all take a moment to look in the mirror and focus on the things staring back at us. Eyes are amazing, complex things, and remarkable in how they work. Even more remarkable is the way we rely on them completely without even thinking about it most of the time.
Eyes are also fragile. I know this from experience when I had some serious eye problems a few years ago. I found it ironic that I – the president of an eye care organization – should be in danger of losing my sight. For that moment in time, I wasn’t a lot different from the millions of people who are threatened by vision loss. I suddenly knew exactly how they must feel.
But I had options – I could do something about my eyes, while most of those people can’t. When the lights go out for them, that’s it. And of course, that’s why Operation Eyesight is hard at work.
World Sight Day is a good thing. It provides an opportunity to think about the unthinkable, which is the prospect of going through life in the dark. Think about this:
- Worldwide there are 39 million people who are blind.
- On top of that there are 245 million who are visually impaired simply because of uncorrected refractive error or the need for a pair of prescription glasses. Not seeing much is almost as bad as seeing nothing at all.
- Many sightless people (mostly who live in developing countries) are blind simply because they are poor.
- As much as 75 percent of the world’s current blindness wouldn’t happen if there was a basic health care system that included eye care.
- Much of blindness could be prevented with clean water, early detection and medical treatment when necessary.
If you need more reasons to care, here’s a heads up. On World Sight Day, go to our website where we’ll be premiering a new two-minute video. It’s quite different from any video we’ve ever done, so watch for it – it will be right on our home page.
One other thing. People often have questions about Africa and India and the challenges these regions face. We’ve been gathering some of those questions, and we’ll use next week’s blog post to answer some of them. If you have a question, simply leave a comment with this post. Thanks for reading!