Here I go with another gratitude page. Forgive me for the Little Susie Sunshine routine, but, by golly, I am grateful.
When I was going through some old Healio ophthalmology posts looking for page topics, I found a series of articles by a doctor on a medical/surgical mission in Kenya. She talked about how upwards of 400 people a day descended on their field hospital of tents. That was TENTS. Not fancy medical center buildings of brick, glass, and steel...tents.
She talked about how many of the people who were coming to their hospital had never seen any type of eye doctor. Most of these people were adults and many of them were elderly. In all those years they had never had even a simple acuity test! This doctor was curing “blindness” by prescribing glasses! People were seeing clearly for the first time in years and were in tears because someone had given them a simple pair of corrective lenses.
Leading cause of blindness
The World Health Organization lists the leading causes of blindness as being - are you ready? - uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. (Apparently because of the increasing age of the world’s population, age-related macular degeneration has now made it up to third place.)
Although I have not developed cataracts, I had my first pair of glasses at age 12. I have had pretty much a lifetime of nearsightedness. What would my life have looked like if I had not gotten glasses?
Grateful for what I have
So, here I am with my corrective lenses. Here I am going to a beautiful, modern building to participate in cutting edge research on my vision problem. And here I am saying I am grateful. I could have just as easily been born somewhere else and be nowhere near as blessed as I am.
I am not totally naive, though. I know there is a large segment of our population here that does not have access to glasses. Not everyone can afford hundreds of dollars on corrective lenses.
Resources for eye care
Gary Heiting has a nice piece in the April 2019 allaboutvision.com post. While he does list sources of help for infants, children and teens, given the focus population of this page, I will refer you to the original piece for those.
- Vision USA can be reached at 800-766-4466.
- Eyecare America has a website as do the Lion’s Club. Locate a local branch and contact them directly. Lions Clubs International have vision as their mandate and may be able to help as well.
- Heiting suggests an organization called New Eyes, accessible on the web.
- Needhelppayingbills.com lists another option. This is the National Eye Care Project. Their number is 800-222-3937.
- Yet another possible source of assistance listed on needhelppayingbills.com is the Senior Eye Care Program. Their toll free number is 877- 887-6327.
Medicare or not?
If you are not quite 65, Medicare age, there are organizations that might be able to help. If you have Medicare, you can get free eye exams for specific illnesses that are associated with eye problems. An example there would be diabetes.
A caveat here, I have checked out none of these programs. I have no idea if they are any good or if they are even still in operation. If you check them out, one way or the other, let me know and I will try to post the information.
"Four Eyes" and grateful
In the meantime, I am grateful I have been able to be a “Four-Eyes” and never had to worry about being blind because I had no glasses. I am grateful I have access to cutting edge research. May you all have something to be grateful for as well.
Little Susie Sunshine
How do you protect your eyes from the sun?