The role of Eye Care Foundation in low-income countries
We are always told that the eyes are one of (if not the most) important out of the five senses. Studies can’t prove it with certainty, but we surely and utterly rely on the sight for experiencing the world. Today we all celebrate World Sight Day, a global event to draw attention on how more than a billion people worldwide don’t have access to eye care services, although it is extremely common to experience an eye health issue in life. The power of the sight is known to AOC, that values immensely the comfort of their users and whose core business is to avoid further strain on the eyes combining the best reproduction to the most comfortable user experience.
Hence why AOC partnered with Eye Care Foundation, an international charity organisation founded in Amsterdam, and active in countries in Asia (such as Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) and Africa (like Tanzania). Born out of the need to help provide and establish good and affordable eye care in developing countries, Eye Care Foundation is completely focused on helping those whom good medical care is inaccessible or unaffordable to prevent and cure avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The help provided in developing countries ranges from opening complete and well-equipped vision centers, offering ophthalmology courses and trainings, and organizing diagnosis camps. According to their calculations, eighty percent of patients with blindness can be easily cured by cataract surgery and many visually impaired people have been helped by good prescription glasses.
We had the opportunity to interview Björn Stenvers, CEO and Director of Eye Care Foundation, to ask him about the goal and vision of the charity.
- How would you describe Eye Care Foundation’s team?
I won't be modest: I am proud to be part of the Eye Care Foundation team. We have a small global team, and in this is our strength: feeling like one. We work closely with each other and share a lot. Every team member is devoted to achieving the best results and works hard towards our common mission.
We know our talents. We are always ready to act. We truly care!
- How can a bad eyesight or eye problems affect people in low-income countries?
Our modern world is built on our ability to see. Without vision, people would struggle to learn, read, attend school, find work and live life to the fullest.
Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment. Nearly 90% of the world’s blind or visually-impaired population lives in low-income countries. The major problem that the people in low-income countries are facing is their lack of knowledge about basic eye care. They need to be taught that vision loss is not normal and that they often have access to local affordable eye care. The Eye Care Foundation strives for a world where good eye care is accessible to everyone so that they have the opportunity to build a future with a clear vision.
- What inspires your team?
We are inspired by the stories of our patients. Every surgery we organize or pair of glasses we give away will radically change one's life. That is our reward.
Simply having a great day at work is another factor that is important in our office culture. A joyful moment with colleagues gives a positive boost to all our activities.
- Is there an accomplishment/project you are the proudest of?
We a proud of the achievements of our patients, trainees, and partners. I could not possibly choose only one story. An example could be a recent case of Mrs. Kisan, who received cataract surgery on both eyes in one day and got her vision back in 20 minutes. She came together with her daughter-in-law, and once the bandages were off, they could not stop crying. We have a video of that moment, and it moved me to tears.
- What is the biggest challenge you face?
The biggest challenge was and still is to find enough resources to stabilize the growth of vision loss worldwide. More specifically, to prevent the increase of cataracts and near sightedness - our two focus eye conditions.
AOC is proud to support Eye Care Foundation in multiple activities around the world, to help people in developing countries to avoid preventable blindness and visual impairments, while striving to ensure the most comfortable and easy-on-the-eyes user experience ever to their users.
To donate to Eye Care Foundation, please visit this page.