Author: Stephanie Godward

Providing Clear Vision in Times of Crisis

Author: Pelin Munis, Ph.D.

As we witness the horrors of war unfold in Ukraine as a global community, many of us are plagued with feelings of helplessness. Families face unspeakable loss, trauma beyond our comprehension, and displacement that will leave more than 6 million refugees destabilized for months – or years – to come. But as a world community, we can each and together do our part to put empathy into action, and to become advocates for refugees around the world in our own unique ways. Let’s do what we can as a unified global community to make their coming days just a little bit easier.

Here at RestoringVision, it is our mission to solve the global vision crisis by ensuring people in impoverished communities have equitable access to vision services and glasses, which improve lives, health, productivity, earning potential, and more. A pair of glasses has the power to change a life – and that is why we are working with funders like National Vision, Inc. and Warby Parker, and partners like Americares and Dr. Shawn Galbraith, an optometrist based in Wyoming who recently traveled to Ukraine, to provide people in crisis with the vision programs and glasses they need to navigate the war and challenges ahead with one less significant obstacle in their way.

Imagine fighting for your life, defending your family, or suddenly being displaced from your country without the ability to see clearly. By providing clear vision for those suffering in and fleeing from Ukraine, I am proud to state that RestoringVision and our partners are working together to support refugees, bringing a small piece of hope into focus for the lives we touch. We know that providing a pair of glasses to someone in need will carve out a path to increased economic opportunities in the future, increased productivity, improved health, and enhanced safety. This is how we can make a lasting impact on the lives of refugees. Vision is at the intersection of global health and economic development. RestoringVision’s support of Ukrainian refugees is just one example of why vision health is a priority for the World Health Organization and is included in the UN Resolution: Vision for Everyone.

WHO’s World Report on Vision states, “at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.”  The UN Resolution: Vision for Everyone states, “improved vision and optimized functional ability for people with blindness or vision impairment leads to improvement in employment prospects, enhanced workplace productivity, increased household income and spending and enhanced economic productivity,” which are instrumental in achieving Sustainable Development Goals that include ending poverty in all its forms, ending hunger, and promoting sustainable economic growth.

With the countless, complex challenges our world faces in a time of war, RestoringVision knows firsthand the global vision crisis is one with a solution and infinite ripple effects: creating access to vision programs and glasses delivery for all. The impacts of this solution extend beyond health and hold the power to lessen the global economic burdens created by poor vision. Refugees facing an overwhelming number of challenges will thankfully have one taken away by a simple pair of glasses. With the dedication and determination of our funders, the passion of our team and partners, and the audacity to make a difference, RestoringVision continues its fierce commitment to bringing hope into focus one person at a time.

Will your organization join us in supporting 200,000 Ukrainian refugees with the glasses they need? Email Program@restoringvision.org to get started today.

Pelin Munis, Ph.D.

Executive Director

RestoringVision

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Meet the New Members of RestoringVision’s Program Staff: Gerardo Medina Duarte

RestoringVision’s program team has grown and transformed over the last 6 months, as new staff members bring fresh perspectives and new skills to our work of solving the global vision crisis through providing people in need with vision programs and glasses delivery.

Gerardo Medina Duarte, Program Coordinator, Mexico, joined RestoringVision in December 2021. Gerardo was raised in a family of opticians. Visual health became part of his life early on, creating a significant understanding of how a pair of eyeglasses can enhance someone’s life. Prior to joining RestoringVision, Gerardo worked as a Social Responsibility Coordinator in the textile industry in Mexico.

What do you enjoy most about your work at RestoringVision?

Gerardo: The people, the team, and the feeling of being an active part of a great story that today has reached more than 20 million lives by improving their sight.

Why is this work important to you personally?

Gerardo: My father was one of the first optical shop owners in my town back in the ’70s, and seeing people’s faces when restoring their vision has been part of my life since I was a child. Sight is one of the most beautiful gifts in life, and today, I have the opportunity to contribute to this for the most vulnerable people in Mexico and Peru and that is very significant and meaningful to me.

Who inspires you most and why?

Gerardo: I certainly admire my father as a human, his sense of humility, and his creativity; he inspires me to keep going in my career and never stop learning from others.

What are you most looking forward to in your role at RestoringVision?

Gerardo: We estimate that there are around 19 million people in Mexico living in poverty with a high probability of having presbyopia and not having the opportunity to access reading glasses. I will invest my best efforts to help all those out there from my position. And I will contribute my best to the team to help expand RestoringVision´s positive impact in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What do you do in your free time when you’re not solving the global vision crisis?

Gerardo: I love my town, and I enjoy walking through the beautiful state of Puebla in México with my family during weekends.

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Meet the New Members of RestoringVision’s Program Staff: Benjamin Cobb

RestoringVision’s program team has grown and transformed over the last 6 months, as new staff members bring fresh perspectives and new skills to our work of solving the global vision crisis through providing people in need with vision programs and glasses delivery.

Ben Cobb RestoringVisionBenjamin Cobb, Manager of Program and Monitoring, joined RestoringVision in March. Ben first became passionate about global health after traveling to Haiti and Guatemala, where he learned about the gap in access to healthcare in certain areas across the globe. Following this realization, Ben began his studies at the Duke University’s Global Health Institute, during which he completed his thesis work on Chronic Kidney Disease in India.

What do you enjoy most about your work at RestoringVision thus far?

Ben: RestoringVision benefits from a special network of global partners, all working to serve people in need. It is a pleasure to be able to work with individuals who are so passionate about vision care and global health, including both RestoringVision employees and its partners. I am encouraged every day by the conversations and work that takes place to help serve people who need access to vision care.

Why is this work important to you personally?

Ben: Every individual, regardless of location or background, should have access to health care. A main tenant of health care is vision care, and the ability to see is a right for every person. Additionally, research shows staggering economic impact after an individual receives a pair of reading glasses. This increase of productivity and income can enable a family to purchase other necessities, such as food and medicine. To me, providing someone with a pair of glasses is not just about vision correction, but about the doors vision correction can open.

Who inspires you most and why?

Ben: Pioneers in the world of global health have inspired me since I started studying and working in this area. Specifically, Paul Farmer served as an inspiration for me and many in the global health sector. His drive to provide health care to individuals at all costs is immensely motivating. His legacy inspires me to go to great lengths to serve those without access to care, and to leave a legacy that is far reaching and impactful, just as he did throughout his life.

What are you most looking forward to in your role at RestoringVision?

Ben: I’m looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the impact our programs have on individuals and to learn more about the specific ways glasses can change the lives of the people we are serving. Understanding the health, social, and economic impact a pair of glasses provides someone is exciting, and I look forward to seeing more people have a chance to benefit from this life changing item.

What do you do in your free time when you’re not solving the global vision crisis?

Ben: In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking. I also enjoy traveling with my wife and playing with our cat, Rio.

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Visibly and RestoringVision Partner to Solve Global Vision Crisis + Raise Awareness During Healthy Vision Month

Visibly and RestoringVision are thrilled to partner this year for the CDC’s Healthy Vision Month, recognized annually in May! Together, our organizations are determined to mobilize more people and companies to address the vision crisis affecting over 1 billion people across the globe. It is a global problem with a straightforward solution: providing access to vision screenings and glasses. Healthy vision and clear sight change lives and communities by increasing productivity, restoring dignity and respect, empowering economies, and so much more.

Visibly and RestoringVision first partnered together in the fall of 2021, working with NewGlobe to provide over 5,000 low-income people in Nigeria with free vision tests and prescription glasses. We also partnered later on, in December of 2021, to lead a giving back campaign focused on enabling people around the world to access vision screenings and reading glasses. Free of charge, 3,700 people received the vision correction glasses they needed through this campaign.

This year, we are building upon our partnership with a lineup of exciting campaigns for 2022. Our mutual goal is to bring greater awareness to the global vision crisis and bring new vision champions into our network of supporters.

Throughout Healthy Vision Month, we will collaborate to amplify the need for healthy vision for everyone worldwide. During this month, we will also ask our current vision champions to continue to support our cause and invite new ones into our network to change lives by giving the gift of sight!

July 23rd marks the one-year anniversary of the United Nations resolution Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We will celebrate this historic day with a call to action to ensure everyone has access to the vision care and glasses they need. On November 29th, Giving Tuesday, we will partner again as we did last year to close out 2022. Beginning on that day through December 31st, we will leverage the generosity of everyone across the globe to ensure RestoringVision meets or exceeds its goal of getting 3.3 million people living in poverty the vision programs and glasses they need to gain clear vision. Every dollar makes a difference! Give today.

About Visibly: Visibly, a Chicago-based healthcare technology company founded in 2012, creates digital eye care technologies that enable patient choice and convenience while providing doctors the ability to create awesome user experiences. Visibly was founded with the belief that glasses and contact lens prescriptions should be accessible and affordable to everyone. Online vision testing is just the start; Visibly envisions a world where technology enables patients and doctors to connect easily to make all aspects of vision care convenient and accessible for all. Currently, Visibly operates under the Enforcement Policy for Remote Ophthalmic Assessment and Monitoring Devices during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency issued by the FDA in April 2020.

About RestoringVision: RestoringVision is a global nonprofit dedicated to providing vision programs and glasses delivery for people living in impoverished communities across the globe, and is committed to helping as many people as possible gain clear vision in order to increase productivity, continue working and earning an income, learning, and performing everyday tasks. Since 2003, RestoringVision has helped more than 20 million people in 144 countries through its programs.

Visibly and RestoringVision to Continue Partnership with a Goal of Making Vision Resources More Accessible to All

Telehealth technology company Visibly and RestoringVision are excited to continue partnering on giving back initiatives throughout 2022 with a goal of making vision resources, programs, and glasses delivery more accessible to all across the globe.

With shared organizational missions of creating a world where everyone has the ability to receive vision care, Visibly and RestoringVision first partnered together in the fall of 2021 when they, in tandem with NewGlobe, provided over 5,000 people in Nigeria, including children, with free vision tests and prescription eyewear. Efforts were focused on communities in Lagos, Edo and Osun states of Nigeria, Africa, where access to vision resources is scarce and expensive.

This initiative was geared towards helping previously undiagnosed as well as already diagnosed patients in NewGlobe’s Nigerian ecosystem of more than 30,000 teachers, more than 1 million pupils, and others in the communities where schools and education partnerships operate.

Read more about the success of this initiative!

In December of 2021, Visibly and RestoringVision continued their partnership with a giving back campaign focused on enabling people around the world to have access to reading glasses. Through this campaign, we were able to help over 3,700 people receive access to eyewear free of charge.

As we progress into 2022, the partnership between Visibly and RestoringVision has exciting plans continuing to give back to our communities, starting with Healthy Vision Month in May. In tandem with the CDC’s efforts, both companies will be working together to educate others on the importance of vision and eye care. Stay tuned for more as we celebrate Healthy Vision Month!

RestoringVision Unveils First-Ever Annual Report with Preview of New Brand Identity and Plans for Growth

RestoringVision 2021 Annual Report

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (APRIL 14, 2022) – RestoringVision has released its first-ever annual report, celebrating its recent milestone of reaching 20 million people in need across the globe with vision programs and glasses delivery while highlighting successes and partnerships forged in 2021.

The annual report also offers an exciting preview of RestoringVision’s new brand and logo identity, which will launch during a June 2022 rollout as it continues to scale its worldwide impact. RestoringVision continues to focus on accelerating its growth while seeking new philanthropic investments, knowing that it could help more than 7 million people in need of clear vision today.

“We are thrilled to share RestoringVision’s first-ever annual report as it provides a look back at what we have accomplished during fiscal year 2021 and a look at the many lives impacted over our first 20 years as an organization,” said Dr. Pelin Munis, Executive Director of RestoringVision. “Within its pages, we hope readers will be motivated to join us in doing everything we can to solve this global health crisis. Our work has only just begun, and we hope you will be a part of this exciting time of growth as we continue to scale our impact across the globe to provide people living in poverty with clear vision.”

The annual report can be viewed by clicking here.

RestoringVision reached more than 2.3 million people in 80 countries across the globe in 2021 with its Global Access Program and Community Outreach Program, a 71 percent increase from 2020.

Yisten Yan, an 87-year-old man living in the Dominican Republic, has lived his entire life without clear vision. Since moving from Haiti to the Dominican Republic over 60 years ago, he has dedicated his life to cutting and cultivating sugar cane. Because of the harsh exposure to the elements in this line of work, his vision had become worse and worse over the years. Thanks to the glasses he (and his wife) received from RestoringVision’s programs, he now has glasses that he says improve his vision and daily life.

“We do this work for people like Yisten, knowing that the impact of providing an individual in need with clear vision not only changes that person’s life, but it uplifts the entire community by increasing economic capacity, productivity, and so much more,” Dr. Munis said. “Providing access to clear vision for people living in impoverished countries has the power to reshape our world, and we are determined to do just that.”

The vision crisis remains today with over 1 billion people lacking access to the vision care and glasses they need to see clearly to live independent and productive lives for themselves, their families, and communities.

RestoringVision’s annual report was created with HAVEN, a creative hub, and marketing agency located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

RestoringVision is a leading global nonprofit dedicated to addressing the unmet need for eyeglasses in impoverished communities across the globe. Each year, the organization helps millions of people living on less than $2/day gain clear vision to increase productivity, continue working and earning an income, learning, and performing everyday tasks. Since 2003, RestoringVision has reached over 20 million people in 144 countries with its programs. For more information, visit restoringvision.org.

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CONTACT:

Stephanie Godward
Senior Manager of Communications and Marketing
RestoringVision
Mobile (412) 463-2942
stephanie@restoringvision.org
www.restoringvision.org