A moment of terror and an "unsexy" charity

Charities, like many other things in the modern world, go in and out of fashion. One week/month/year celebrities are lending their faces and names to one cause and a few years later the same celebrities are associating themselves with another. Some diseases are easy to dramatize. The story of the person looking for marrow donor or the matching kidney almost writes itself.

And then there are the causes and charities that quietly trudge along, never in the spotlight and yet for all that alleviating just as much misery as those that are better known.

This morning I couldn\’t find my glasses. I need my glasses to perform the routine tasks of life. I put them on before I get out of bed in the morning and I take them off only after I turn off the lights at night. Today I took them off to wash my face and when I reached out my hand for them they weren\’t were I expected them to be. I looked frantically at the things on the counter but I couldn\’t find them. Yes, I have a backup pair (which I keep in a spot I can reach even if I can see nothing) but the moment of terror remains with me. Without my glasses I would not be able to cook (I couldn\’t measure ingredients and nor could I safely use a knife.) I wouldn\’t be able to read (magnifying things won\’t solve the problem since I am severely astigmatic.) I couldn\’t drive. I couldn\’t knit unless someone else cast on the stitches and I couldn\’t crochet save by feel alone.

We who are privileged forget how life-changing the simple technology of \”glasses\” can be. There are hundreds of thousands of people who could live better, more comfortable, more remunerative lives with the aid of something we take so for granted that we know longer think of it as a medical technology.

Many optometrists and opthalmologists belong to groups that will accept old/used glasses. Groups of doctors go to areas of the world where people get no eye care or where most people can\’t afford glasses and provide the required necessary tests for free. They then match people up with the used eyeglasses closest to the prescription required. Yes, of course it would be better if everyone in the world had access to best of modern eye medicine but realistically that is not going to happen anytime soon. Just remember, the next time your replace your glasses to find a doctor/organization that can pass them on to someone whose life will be made, quite literally, clearer and brighter by an act of charity that cost you nothing.

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