The Gift of Sight

Good eyesight and access to eye-care professionals is something not to take for granted. Most people in South Africa can't afford quality eye-care. It is just too expensive. And poverty in South Africa is on the rise. Visual impairment negatively impacts quality of life as well as the ability of affected individuals to be economically active, having detrimental effects in developing countries such as South Africa.

The number of people suffering from visual impairment and blindness globally continues to rise. In South Africa, about 10% of the population has seeing or sight disability, the highest of all forms of disabilities.

South Africa is faced with the problem of inequitably distributed optometrists. There are 3697 registered optometrists in South Africa, of which only 262 are working in the public sector trying to serve the needs of 70% of the population.

At Mia Mélange, we've had artisans joining our team who were clearly struggling with their eyesight and who had never in their lives been to an eye-care professional. Luckily for us, we have the most wonderful neighbours, Bril! Our team members went for eye tests at Bril and received their prescription glasses. Seeing them put their glasses on for the first time was a beautiful sight! They could not believe how clearly they could see! Thanks to Bril, our team members can now enjoy a better quality of life and are able to do their work to the best of their abilities. They can use their talents in comfort and pain free and to earn a decent living!

Scola went for her first ever eye test in 2020, at the age of 50! She had been struggling with her eyesight for years. Scola is a very talented seamstress and has her own sewing machine at home. Her eyesight is her livelihood. Thanks to Bril, she is now able to see clearly and do her job well!

Above left: Scola just after she received her first-ever pair of glasses! Above right: Scola working from home making masks. Her glasses enable her to earn a decent living.

Vitalis went for his first ever eye test in 2021, at the age of 48! He was struggling with his eyesight and was in pain. His new glasses from Bril have changed his life!

Above: Vitalis and his new prescription glasses from Bril! 

Above left: Babsy loves wearing her glasses and opted for ones that tint to protect her eyes against harmful UV rays. Above right: Mam Fani is loving her glasses from Bril. Here she is enjoying a manicure at our year-end function in 2019.

Above: Bernay received her reading glasses from Bril. She is very happy that she will now be able to read her bible each night in comfort!

VisionBox

Bril founded a non-profit called VisionBox which brings vision care to people in need. Their vision is to make optometry accessible to all. The work they do is incredibly valuable and life-changing. And if you are feeling inspired, please consider donating! You can also donate your old frames!

Follow VisionBox on Instagram: @visionbox_foundation

References:

- VisionBox

- An evaluation of the public sector optometric service provided within the health districts in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa