$145 billion per year — that’s a lot of money. It can wipe out 20 percent of all credit card debts in the United States alone, or it can take care of the entire federal budget for education.
But that’s the health cost of the United States’ failure to tackle vision impairment in adults and children. In the U.S., one in four kids have a vision problem and nearly one in 10 adults suffer from vision loss. A simple visit to an eye doctor at the right time could easily eradicate this problem.
— See Now (@WeAreSeeNow) February 15, 2017
285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide according to the World Health Organization. But the most striking statement is this:
80 percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.
To be fair, there have been major strides in preventing and curing visual impairment in many countries. Awareness and access to eye-care services have helped. And technology is a help to push it along further.
Have You Wondered What It’s Like to Be Blind?
The See Now campaign asks this question, and also gives us an inkling of the answer with the help of a Sight Simulator that mimics the daily experience of the visually impaired. The Sight Simulator shows what it’s like to live with different eye diseases: cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, among others.
The campaign makes creative use of Google Street View as it overlays the effect of an eye impairment on any location you pick with the Street View. For instance, you can pick your neighborhood address and get a feel for how someone with cataracts would experience it. A “severity slider” mimics the extent of the impairment.
The simulator wants to drive home the point that a little preventive care can prevent the afflictions in the first place. It just needs a single visit to the doctor. The people behind the campaign realize how common vision problems are around the world. It can only start with global awareness.
The Sight Simulator is not a fun toy. It is at the sharp end of the effort to prod the public about an avoidable ailment. And to warn the government about a looming public health crisis. See Now is spearheading the campaign with the patient advocacy group Prevent Blindness. Read more about the challenges ahead on their site.
I hope you are untouched with eye problems today. But do you take care of your eyes? There are some simple tips you can follow right now.
Try the simulator and read the message on the site. Is the See Now Do you think it is one of the basic ailments that doesn’t get the attention it should?
Image Credit: Nomad_Soul via Shutterstock