Imagine one morning, you wake up, open your eyes, and everything’s blurry. It’s hard to see the bedside table that’s next to your face. You reach to find your phone, but you can hardly see where it is. You flop your hand on the top of your table and run it along the surface until you feel your phone brush your fingertips. Grabbing it, you try to look at the time, but your phone is nearly 2 inches from your eyes before you can read it. Time to get ready for the day, but how are you going to manage that if it was this much of a struggle to know the time?
This may seem like a dramatic scenario, but for some people around the world, this is their daily life. “Sight can make the difference between a life of poverty and a life of opportunity.” Billions of people live with vision impairment and blindness every day, and millions more are blind or visually impaired simply because they don’t have access to routine eye care and vision correction. That’s where Optometry Giving Sight comes in.
Optometry Giving Sight
Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) has a vision: “a world where avoidable blindness and vision loss due simply to the lack of a pair of eyeglasses no longer threaten the quality-of-life and future livelihood of children and adults because there is universal access to quality vision and eye care services for all those in need.” As a global fundraising initiative started in 2003, OGS aims to prevent blindness and impaired vision due to the lack of eye care resources.
Notable Projects & Current Efforts
OGS has supported more than 117 projects in 39 countries around the world. These projects strengthen the human capacity of emerging nations and help them contribute to the World Health Organization (WHO) Universal Eye Health Global Action Plans and UN Millennium Development. These projects help to:
- Provide basic eye care services
- Train eye care personnel
- Establish vision centers
For example, one See to Succeed (STS) mission last year provided eye care and screenings to disadvantaged children affected by Hurricane Harvey. With successful fundraising and the help of dedicated eye care professionals, they were able to provide these services for 5 days and glasses frames for 400 students.
In January of this year, OGS and its Global Board announced the joining of OGS operation into the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation. By working more closely together, these organizations hope to achieve “more significant and sustained outcomes” of their projects. Ultimately, the merger benefits hundreds of thousands of the needlessly blind or visually impaired who don’t have access to quality eye care. Along with the WHO Global Action Plan, the new partnership hopes to reduce unnecessary blindness and vision impairment by 25% by 2019.
Like OGS, World Sight Day (WSD) is a global drive to raise awareness of the numerous people living with visual disadvantages and the need for eye care. Today, October 11, 2018, is World Sight Day! Many eye care professionals, companies, students, and activists have been and will be participating in what is known as the World Sight Day Challenge.
“Optometry Giving Sight is urging all members of the optical community and all those who value good vision to take part in the World Sight Day Challenge!”
This fundraising effort brings the global optometric community together to help end avoidable blindness and vision impairment through several participation options:
- Join or host a fundraising event or activity.
- In September at Vision Expo West (VEW), EyePromise® hosted a Peloton® bike in its booth. For every 1 mile ridden by event goers, $100 was donated to OGS and the World Sight Day initiative. Together, EyePromise and the riders were able to raise $8,600.
- Drive a fundraising initiative.
- Donate a day of exam fees
- Donate a portion of frame sales
- Encourage staff and/or patients to donate
- The annual EyePromise Chili Cook-Off will take place later this month with all proceeds going towards OGS. This event includes chili, raffles, staff donations, and other fundraising events.
A $5 donation provides vision-correcting services to one person in need; getting involved is easy. How do you see yourself helping OGS and the World Sight Day Challenge?