Today is World Sight Day and Uptown Eye Care is proud to celebrate. We are celebrating with Optometry Giving Sight by raising money for eye exams and glasses for people who live in areas that are affected by natural disasters and third world countries. A $5 donation buys an eye exam and a pair of glasses for those people. Please read the inspiring story below and if you feel compelled to give to the World Sight Day efforts, contact us at 763-271-2020 or via our Online Contact Form.
When Lauriel Kajugusi learned about a new vision center in the nearby town of Bariadi, Tanzania, he thought there may be a chance for his elderly sister, Margereth, who had been living as blind for ten years. Margereth had cared for Lauriel as a small child, but in recent years she had spent her days alone in a room, believing that her eyes had died, and that the rest of her would soon follow. “I was even thinking, ‘God can take me because I am not now in the world,’” said Margereth.
Lauriel was able to bring his sister to the vision center to be examined. After arrangements were made and she had recovered from cataract surgery and her refractive error was corrected with carefully crafted lenses.Her life has since transformed. With her restored vision, Margereth has been able to learn to walk again, and rebuild the strength that had been lost due to years of inactivity. She now takes pride in her garden that she has cultivated herself. “It’s like I was born again,” she said.
Her optometrist was Eliabu Mbuguma, and Margereth’s story is now one of many lives that he has changed through the vision center. Since opening in 2010, the Bariadi Vision Centre in Tanzania, supported by Optometry Giving Sight, is having an enormous impact on the surrounding communities. It’s estimated that 800 000 people live in the Bariadi region; most have never met an optometrist. Therefore, it’s not only about service delivery, but also about education.
The team from the vision center also organize outreach clinics to distant villages. Here, up to 200 people can line up for an eye exam. Patients who can’t be treated on the spot, or require surgery, are referred to the vision center. “These people know me, they appreciate my services,” said Eliabu. “We restore their vision with refractive error, you see. So we restore hope, we restore life of their eyes. So it’s a new life to them.”
On any one day at the outreach clinics, Eliabu and his team are faced with a myriad of conditions, including 10 year old Meyelluh Shaku, who had sever ulcers from a fungal infection of the eye. Had she gone untreated much longer, there was a high chance she would have lost her sight. With a dose of antibiotics, Eliabu was able to restore Meyelluh’s vision, and with it, hope for a better future.
Optometry Giving Sight, along with its partners, is investing in vision centers through Tanzania, and across the world. New equipment and a new facility in Mwanza, near the shores of Lake Victories, will soon serve hundreds of thousands of people, providing access to desperately needed eye care. Clive Miller, global CEO of Optometry Giving Sight, has commented on the progress over the last few years. “We are delighted to see the impact that vision centers, like the one in Bariadi, are having for the people of Tanzania,” he said. “Optometry Giving Sight aims to improve the quality of life of people who are needlessly blind or vision impaired simply because they do not have access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses. Each vision center that is established helps us reach this goal.”
The Tanzania Vision Centre Project is implemented by the Brien Holden Vision Institute with support from Tanzania Optometric Association (TOA) and Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW).
World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired held on the second Thursday in October.
World Sight Day is observed around the world by all partners involved in preventing visual impairment or restoring sight. It is also the main advocacy event for the prevention of blindness and for “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight”, a global effort to prevent blindness created by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Again, if you feel compelled to give to World Sight Day, contact us at 763-271-2020 or via our Online Contact Form.