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A pair of glasses can be truly life-changing

Posted on: Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Junior and Grace are best friends. They go to school together but they also have another thing in common. Both have been struggling with poor vision for several years, making it much more difficult for them to learn in class.

But thanks to CBM supporters, they’ve had eye examinations and been fitted for glasses. Being able to see clearly will make a huge difference to their school experience, so they can pursue their ambitions and have the chance to reach their full potential.

Keep reading to hear their stories:

Junior (16)

Junior having an eye examination

It’s not a surprise to Junior that he needs glasses. He’s been having problems with his eyes for a long time now. In the morning, when he wakes up, he cannot open his eyes straight away but needs to wait several minutes for them to adjust to the light. When he gets to school, he cannot see the blackboard and asks friends to tell him what’s written on there. His eyes start itching when he strains them.

When he plays cricket with his friends, Junior sometimes cannot see the ball. He’s not stopped playing and is still part of the club team of his school. But it’s only a matter of time until he has to stop, if his eyes deteriorate any further.

Junior has never had an eye test before, or seen an eye health professional. His mother and sister also have sight problems. His mother supports the family on her own, working as a security guard. She’s short-sighted and used to have glasses to help her see clearly. But when the glasses broke, she could not afford to replace them. She’s been living with poor vision for over 15 years.

Things change for Junior when he attends an eye screening at his school. CBM-supported health workers use the mobile phone app “peek acuity” to carry out vision tests on pupils at the school and identify if they need low vision devices, such as glasses. CBM is working with Peek Vision, who developed the app, to make it available where it’s needed.

Junior and some fellow students are referred to a local hospital to see a refractionist. There he chooses a pair of glasses, which his mother is relieved to discover are subsidised by CBM. He’s very happy to be able to see clearly again and read without painful, itching eyes.

Now he will be able to see the blackboard at school, which will make learning much easier. His dream is to be an engineer or an IT specialist one day.

Grace (16)

Grace having an eye examination

Grace’s favourite subject at school is history. She especially likes European history: “I think, it’s important to know about other countries”, she says.

During lessons, Grace has to sit at the front of the class so that she can see the blackboard. She has problems with her vision when it’s shady or windy.

At an eye screening at Grace’s school, the CBM team finds that Grace needs glasses. She’s been having problems with her eyes for a few years now but has never had an eye test before.

Grace is referred to a local hospital to see a refractionist, accompanied by her friend Junior who also has poor vision. They choose their glasses excitedly.

Grace’s mother also struggles because of her poor sight but her father tells us “Sometimes it is hard to have food for the whole family. In these times, I need to decide between new glasses or breakfast for my children.”

Thanks to CBM supporters, Grace is prescribed glasses free of charge and she can’t stop smiling whilst she’s trying them on. She feels much more confident and is looking forward to wearing them in class.

Many women, men and children in poverty have no access to the most basic of eye health services. Sight-saving treatments like cataract surgery, and even something as simple as a pair of glasses, can be truly life-changing.

In the world’s poorest places, being able to see can mean the chance to go to school, to read and write, to get around safely and to earn a living to support yourself and your family. The benefits are felt by whole families, as caring responsibilities are reduced, freeing up more time for education or paid work.

You can Light up Lives by helping people to access sight-saving surgery, eye treatments and glasses, so they can go to school, get around safely and support themselves and their families.

Did you know?

  • £39 could pay for a pair of glasses to open the world for someone with poor vision.
  • £40 buys a school sight-test pack so children’s vision problems can be identified early and treated.

UK Aid LogoUntil 20 May 2021, every £1 you donate to Light up Lives will be DOUBLED by the UK government! (open in new tab) Public donations will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest. Match funding from the UK government will improve access to sight-saving eye-health services in Zimbabwe.

Images: 1st – Junior and Grace smiling with their new glasses on ©CBM/U. Kleiner. 2nd – Junior having an eye examination ©CBM/U. Kleiner. 3rd – Grace having an eye examination ©CBM/U. Kleiner.