“It’s the biggest health crisis you’ve never heard of. Doctors, philanthropists and companies are trying to solve it.” Said Atul Loke for The New York Times


In an era when millions of people perish from preventable or treatable illnesses, many major donors have devoted their lives and income to combatting killers like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. While not seen as urgent like other world health problems, vision impairment is a condition that can easily be treated with a simple eye test and a pair glasses but affects more than 1.2 billion people worldwide. 80% of those effected living in low and middle-income countries.

A story recently told in the New York Times is of 12-year-old Shivam Kumar, a student living in Panipat, India, who struggled to see the blackboard clearly due to his poor eye sight. As his grades at school worsened, so did his dreams of becoming a pilot. Shivam said;

You can’t fly a plane if you’re blind

Over 12 million children worldwide, like Shivam, struggle to learn at school simply because they cannot see clearly and cannot afford an eye test or a pair of glasses that could help restore their vision so that they can reach their full potential in school, achieve a better education and ultimately start a career when they leave school.

 

 

Eyelliance, a non-profit group aiming to raise donations and bring global attention to issue of uncorrected vision, told the New York Times;

In 2015, $37 million was spent on delivering eyeglasses to people in low and middle come countries, that is less than one percent of resources devoted to global health issues.

So far, the group’s fundraising has yielded a couple of million of dollars according to its organisers; however, money alone cannot easily solve the systematic challenges faced by many countries in the developing world.

To read the full article in the New York Times and the rest of Shivam’s story, Click here.