For many people who can’t see clearly, a simple pair of reading glasses can make all the difference. We take a look at the work of RestoringVision, a non-profit organization and partner with Essilor company FGX, which has delivered over 6 million new reading glasses and sunglasses to people in need worldwide.
Mark Sachs founded RestoringVision after seeing the overwhelming demand for corrective glasses, especially reading glasses, on social responsibility missions abroad. Through his contacts in the optical industry he persuaded manufacturers to donate excess stock and found plenty of charitable groups travelling abroad to help distribute them to people in developing countries. From the first donations of glasses in 2003, RestoringVision has gone on to impact the lives of millions of people in over 124 countries.
In the developing world, a pair of glasses provides immediate improvement to many daily life tasks help protect against long-term eye damage from overexposure to UV rays.
“In the developing world, a pair of glasses provides immediate improvement to many daily life tasks while sunglasses help protect against long-term eye damage from overexposure to UV rays,” explains Mark Sachs. “We work with more than 1,400 partners to deliver both to people in need across the world.”
FGX, an Essilor company that designs and markets non-prescription reading glasses, frames and sunglasses, has supported the work of RestoringVision over the past eight years. Teams there have donated nearly 4 million pairs of readers and sunglasses, securing donations from their customers and distributors and facilitating logistics.
Managing logistics to meet global demand
“From the beginning, we set out to make it easy to dispense reading glasses,” adds Mark. “We prepare packs of glasses of assorted powers meeting the most-often required vision correction, based on the experience and knowledge of partners like FGX. We have been supported in the sorting, packing and shipping of our glasses by wonderful teams from Becoming Independent and ARC Industries, organizations helping adults with developmental disabilities.”
Now we’re identifying strategic partners among global health organizations with infrastructure, distribution or service systems in developing countries.
Large-scale eyeglasses donations from partners like FGX have created opportunities to scale up. Explains Mark: “Now we’re identifying strategic partners among global health organizations with infrastructure, distribution or service systems in developing countries. Getting them to add vision care into the health services they offer through dispensing reading glasses will have a lasting impact and enable us to broaden our reach.”
The importance of partnership
What is really exciting for me about RestoringVision is the impact that together with our partners we are making around the world and what the numbers actually represent.
“What is really exciting for me about RestoringVision is the impact that together with our partners we are making around the world and what the numbers actually represent. They represent the millions of people who can read again, who can continue in their jobs, who can remain productive members of their communities, and even the children who can go to school rather than stay home to be the eyes of their parents and grandparents.”