Sight is our most important and dominant sense, on which we depend for 80% of our contact with the environment and everything we do. It’s so integral to how we interact with the world that it’s easy to take it for granted: Unless you have a problem with your vision and then your poor eyesight can become a chronic hindrance in daily life
According to the World Health Organization, “285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.” The impact of this disability on their quality of life and opportunities is staggering. In developing countries, vision problems are an underlying cause of hunger and poverty, although 80% of the causes of blindness and visual impairment are preventable and treatable.
In the United States, the impact of visual impairment is equally significant, as estimates by the National Federation of the Blind state that, “for working-age adults reporting significant vision loss, only 40.4% were employed in 2014.” The rate of unemployment is sometimes reported to be as high as 75%.
Although treatment for something as routine as cataracts – the reason 48% of people in the developing world are blind – is sometimes simply unavailable, the reason for a lack of vision care in certain countries – including the United States – is cost.
In a 2011 Center for Disease Control survey of “adults aged 40 and over who were considered to have a moderate-to-severe visual impairment, 39.8% said they had skipped seeking care in the past year because of costs or lack of insurance.” That’s an alarming rate of people who require vital vision care who must forgo it.
At Tzu Chi, it’s our mission to aid low-income, underserved, and underprivileged populations and families. Through our Mobile Vision Care program, we offer free vision screenings and free prescription glasses.
Providing free eye care for people with vision problems is imperative: Everyone deserves to see as well as possible in order to live life to their full potential. Please support our vision care charity mission.