80 percent of the world’s blindness is preventable.
If you’re involved in the eye care field, this is a stat you have probably heard before. Approximately 39 million people around the globe are blind due to preventable diseases or conditions like cataract, trachoma, glaucoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness), vitamin deficiencies, infections, and uncorrected refractive error.
There are many organizations around the world working to stop preventable blindness. While some, like the Himalayan Cataract Project or INSIGHT work from donations to provide direct services to the blind, the San Diego-based company, SOLO Eyewear, takes a more business-minded approach to helping the blind.
The company, which grew from a class project at San Diego State University, currently sells its unique bamboo and plastic sunglasses online and at the SDSU Bookstore, with a portion of each sale going to one of SOLO’s non-profit partners. If you buy a pair of the trendy specs you are given the choice of whether you want a portion of your money to go toward funding eye surgery or supplying prescription glasses to those in need. In less than a year, SOLO has helped supply 750 pairs of prescription glasses and 105 eye surgeries.
The one-two combo of fashion and charity has proven to be a successful mix, as SOLO is currently sold out of their entire catalog. Not to worry though if you’re in the market for a new pair of socially conscious shades—last month SOLO wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $12,000 to fund the production of its new Summer Collection, which will be available soon.
In March, the founders of SOLO kicked off a new campaign to raise public awareness about preventable blindness. The founders and other volunteers stood on street corners in San Diego with blindfolds on, carrying signs that said “80% of the world’s blindness is preventable.” SOLO’s goal is to spread this awareness movement to three other cities by April 26. The founders are recruiting anyone who is interested, so if you want to help educate the public in your area about preventable blindness, click here.