Transforming Futures: The Life Changing Power of a Pair of Glasses

The life changing power of a pair of glasses

Glasses for Classes

The Struggle to See

Many of us will experience that moment when things seem a little blurry, you struggle to read the ingredients on a packet or squint at a screen, the telltale sign you need glasses.

For the children where we work, that moment can have devastating consequences. Many of the schools we visit have little or no electricity so classrooms can be dark with worn blackboards, crowded classes and textbooks that need to be shared, everything that puts a strain on eyesight.

Unable to properly see their studies children can easily fall behind, fail exams and inevitably leave school with little hope of employment. It’s a surprisingly easy route into poverty.

A report by the Overseas Development Index (ODI) said not having a pair of glasses ‘can lock children into a lifetime of disadvantages.’

Big Problems, Simple Solutions

Eye test

448 million children globally have refractive errors – vision problems that could easily be treated with timely access to quality eye care. The number is so significant (recent reports suggest that by 2050 half the world will need glasses – the majority in low and middle-income countries) that it will easily impact a country’s economic prospects.

While the number of people with poor sight has serious consequences both personally and globally the solution is simple – a pair of glasses.

Since we started Glasses for Classes, Betty and Sylvia, who run our eye test clinics have tested thousands of eyes helping identify children who need glasses or eye surgery.

The eye test chart is the first time many students will have their eyes checked. By working in schools (we cover district by district, school by school) we’re able to screen a huge number of children and identify eye conditions as early as possible.

Children with the poorest eyesight who struggle to read through the chart are measured for lenses and frames. Not only can we detect children who need glasses but we also spot children with more serious conditions like cataracts and glaucoma that could cause irreversible blindness if left untreated.

The glasses are made, for free, in the UK thanks to a retired optician and volunteers using frames and lenses that have been donated. Currently, this is the cheapest option. We also arrange eye surgery if needed.

Glasses for Classes

13-year-old Wisdom had been struggling to see properly and was worried about being able to see enough to study for his exams. An eye test diagnosed myopia and we were able to provide him with glasses so he could see what he needed to study.

Wisdom said: “Now I’m able to read the chalkboard and my books. I hope it will help me in my learning.”

Our Future Vision

As the clock ticks down towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 it is clear that access to timely eye care is crucial especially if the goals of No Poverty (1), Good Health and Well-Being (2) Quality Education (3), Gender Equality (5) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (8) are to be achieved.

Over the next few months, we’ll be working hard, providing eye tests and delivering glasses for thousands of children so they can have the clearer, brighter future they deserve.

Help us deliver even more pairs of glasses by donating here.

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