Last weekend we took a trip to Chicago for the ASCRS Annual Meeting. It was great to walk the showroom floor and see so many companies, new and old, presenting their latest technology and ideas in interactive ways.
However, amid the expensive displays vying for attention from passersby, it was refreshing to see someone offering information about charitable efforts. As I strolled past the Croma Pharmaceuticals display, a LIGHT FOR THE WORLD poster caught my eye.
I introduced myself to the organization’s Head of Communications and he explained its mission. With donations of money and equipment from individuals and companies like Croma, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD teams up with other NGOs to save the eyesight, improve the quality of life, and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities in impoverished nations across the globe.
Mainly working in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Northeast India, Pakistan, and Bolivia, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD has been involved in blindness prevention programs and human resource development for eye care professionals for over 20 years, striving to achieve the goals of VISION 2020. In 2011, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD’s programs reached over one million people and more than 40,000 cataract surgeries were performed.
The organization takes a far-reaching approach to its charitable efforts. It does not simply perform eye care procedures, but also supports programs promoting education, blindness prevention, community-based rehabilitation, and training of future eye care workers, creating a sustainable effort to help end the cycle of poverty and disability.
While the ASCRS Annual Meeting is a great place for companies to showcase the latest technology in the eye care field, among the flashy displays, it is easy to forget that so many people in need do not have access to that technology. At conventions like these, where sales and promotion take center stage, it is nice to have representatives from organizations like LIGHT FOR THE WORLD reminding us that there are more important things in life.