Imagine suffering a blinding condition that could be treated. But because you were poor and had no access to eye care you lived a life of dependency. Worse yet, imagine being poor and born blind and because of your condition your life expectancy was 3 years. There are an estimated 35 million people in the world who are blind from cataracts and 600 million who need eye glasses. Most of these people live in developing countries.
Our goal is to prevent this tragedy. Vision for the Poor and partners have developed a network of ten eye hospitals in Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru and Mexico that provide all eye care services to the poorest people who otherwise would not receive treatment.
Vision for the Poor partner eye hospitals use a social service model that allows patients to pay for care according to their ability. Of the 160,000 patients treated each year at our hospitals, thirty percent of patients are destitute and unable to contribute to the cost of care. Cost of eye glasses is $20 and cataract surgery is $77. Your participation in Climb for Sight will assure access to care for the poorest of the poor and assist each facility’s goal of being sustainable.
Betty, age 8, had to provide full-time care for her grandmother Silia (left) and her aunt Carice (right) because they were blind from cataracts. The women recently received surgery at the Vision for the Poor partner eye hospital in Cap Haitian, Haiti. Betty will attend school for the first time.
Our climb was an amazing challenge. We hiked for three days to the Kibo Hut base camp, slept for just a few hours, and then began our climb at 11 p.m. We hiked through the night, under the full moon, reaching the summit around 7 a.m. The air was thin and our bodies were exhausted. People on the summit seemed to be delusional from altitude and lack of oxygen. As we walked the last hour on the summit ridge, the light of the full moon faded and the sun rose illuminating the African sky. Hiking above the clouds, on a dormant volcano, looking out on glaciers, we could see the world below us, just a sea of clouds. Mountains have an amazing healing power, which remind us just how small we are in the grander scheme of things. I am thankful to have spent time on this mountain and in this dynamic country.Lindsay Yost