If you wear eyeglasses, I’m sure you can remember what it felt like the first time you wore them. Personally, I was in denial for 2 years before I got my first pair. My bespectacled self realized that my whole world had been a blur. Suddenly, everything was bright and all those blotches had defined shapes. I could see clearly again, thanks to Salvino D’Armate, peace be upon him.
Unfortunately, millions the world over, and nearly 15 million people in India can never experience their first time. I shall resist brooding over how this affects their quality of life and how unfair the financial inequality in our country is. I will however mention that the aftermath of unaided poor vision is often blindness.
A while ago, a friend told me how some IIT students had found this problem an ingenious solution. Today, I stumbled upon a similar initiative by Lions Club International. Apparently it has been in place for over 80 years! I’m still blown away by the idea, and to prevent further anticipation, here goes:
One can barely estimate the number of spectacle lenses that must go to waste each time a person’s eye-power changes, making it necessary to replace old, used pairs of spectacles. Throughout the year, Lions Clubs collect such obsolete pairs of spectacles, donated by owners who can no longer use them. These pairs are cleaned and classified by the power of their lenses. Volunteers then go to rural areas in developing countries and each pair of eyeglasses finds a new pair of eyes as soon as a suitable match is found. Really, a bright idea!
If you are still hoarding your old pair of eyeglasses, donate them now and let someone see the world again!
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I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.