A Beacon for the Blind...

RMMUN Jul 27, 2021

As young Rotaractors, we always strive for the betterment of our community, and to improve the lives of everyone out there. We try to address various issues of many different groups in our society and provide them with solutions, guidance, and opportunities. Blindness and vision impairment is such a problem that requires our immediate attention. The number of people who are affected by partial or complete blindness is around 2.2 billion.

The Cause

Blindness is commonly viewed as a birth defect, a natural process with aging, or the result of an accident. In reality, vision loss can arise due to a variety of other reasons, including genetics, and diseases.

Cataract is the most common cause of blindness in the world today. It mainly occurs due to changes in proteins in our eyes. This is something that occurs naturally as we age. Starting as mild blurriness, cataracts can cause complete blindness within a short period if untreated.

Other common causes include River Blindness, which is a parasitic disease, Glaucoma, which is genetically inherited, and Trachoma, a bacterial infection that causes blindness through physical damage to the eyes. There are many more diseases as such which are truly frightening, however, it is not my intention to terrify the readers. It is much more important that we find ways to ease this suffering. Seems like a daunting task at first glance. Yet, according to recent studies, upwards of 75% of blindness, IS PREVENTABLE. Inexpensive medications, simple surgeries, and routine checkups could be life-changing. Sadly, it is deemed inaccessible to many victims.

Can we imagine the world as pitch black?

Imagine the fear of someone slowly going blind, having to memorize everything about everyone you love, as a parent who would never again see a child or a child who would never again see his or her family.

In most cases, blindness sets in during old age. Apart from the physical risks, losing something as valuable and irreplaceable as eyesight can have a drastic impact on someone’s psychological health. The mere idea of losing sight can be terrifying. Victims worry about the possible loss of independence, financial difficulties, and providing for their families. This in turn can lead to anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

It is even more difficult for those who lose their sight at a younger age. Younger victims will have a lower chance of acquiring a proper education or good jobs, especially in rural areas. This makes their survival difficult and adds more strain on their families as well.

To create a world where blindness is never a weakness,

Not long ago, the blind were regarded as a hindrance and discarded in society. But it all changed when Louis Braille introduced his alphabet. The world has come much farther now. With the help of advanced technology, it is now possible to excel in many academic fields even without vision. New concepts such as Echolocation and computer vision have been integrated into human lives allowing victims of blindness to have much more independent lives and participate in a variety of activities previously perceived as impossible.

Technology will keep on improving. The biggest challenge, however, is making all this accessible to communities all over the world. In most cases, blindness can be prevented or treated if basic facilities and resources were in place. This includes basic clinical facilities, proper education about eye health, and accessibility of medication, treatments, and equipment. We should strive hard to bridge the gap between developed and marginalized communities. In human terms, out of the 2.2 billion people affected by vision impairment more than 1 billion could have been avoided. Such a staggering statistic demands an equally astounding response.


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