As Katie Price takes to the dance floor as a woman dressed as a man dressed as a woman on Let’s Dance, we know it’s that time of year again when red nosing permeates across the country as we do something funny for money in the spirit of Comic Relief 2011.
This year, under the chosen key theme of ‘Sight’, the hotly anticipated celebrity challenge sees popular celebrities take part in the Red Nose Desert Trek, raising the profile of charitable work that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries.
According to the World Health Organisation, 45 million people around the world are blind. In Africa alone 300,000 children under the age of 15 are blind.
Yet 80% of visual impairments could be avoided through access to treatments which most of us take for granted, and yet are unavailable or not heard of by those living in impoverished countries.
In countries with limited resources for the blind and visually impaired this can lead to social exclusion, making them vulnerable to abuse and more prone to end up living in poverty. Providing much needed visual aid in Africa will not only improve, and in some cases restore, people’s sight but also open the door to their route out of poverty.
In 2007, Optical Express teamed up with The Caring City on Project New Vision which aims to help improve the vision of millions of people throughout the world in underdeveloped countries providing a small but nonetheless vital optical clinic in the Bujumbura region of Africa.
The Caring City currently has 47 projects on-going around the world, each committed to improving various healthcare services including eye care. The charity provides a basic ‘gifts in kind’ service which shapes job opportunities, increases life expectancy and improves overall quality of life. Together with volunteers, The Caring City provides local resident eye doctors with training, support and equipment, including the frames and lenses donated by The Optical Express Group.
Optical Express values visual health as a route out of poverty and has been collecting and donating spectacles in increasingly large volumes. Burundi is the latest country to benefit from these donations receiving regular shipments of thousands of spectacles.
The high cost of spectacles prohibits many from benefiting from improved eyesight, and leaves simple eye conditions undetected and neglected. Children are excluded from attending school because of their vision – a problem which can be easily remedied with a pair of glasses.
You can make a difference and enrich lives throughout the world with sustainable, long-term benefits by donating your old glasses. Donated glasses are categorised, tested and distributed free of charge. Whether you have recently had laser eye surgery or upgraded to new frames, you can drop your old glasses into one of the collection boxes that can be found in all Optical Express clinics and we will make sure they are given a much needed home.