More than a billion people around the world need eyeglasses but don’t have them, The New York Times reports, and the affliction has long been overlooked on lists of public health priorities.
And some estimates put the figure closer to 2.5 billion people, including Nigerian truck drivers who strain to see pedestrians darting across the road and Bolivian coffee farmers who can't spot ripe beans for harvest.
There are also tens of millions of children across the world whose families cannot afford an eye exam or the prescription glasses.
“Many of these kids are classified as poor learners or just dumb and therefore don’t progress at school,” Kovin Naidoo, global director of Our Children’s Vision, told the Times. “That just adds another hurdle to countries struggling to break the cycle of poverty.”
Many major international donors focus on combating killers like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and in 2015, only $37 million was spent on delivering eyeglasses to people in the developing world. That's less than one percent of the resources that go to global health issues, according to EYElliance, a nonprofit group that raises money and brings attention to the problem of uncorrected vision.
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