Solidarity Approach

HIMALAYAN CATARACT PROJECT

This summer Vuarnet partnered with the Himalayan Cataract Project to provide over 300 pairs of sunglasses to the remote Hamar people of Ethiopia for cataract surgery recovery. Led by HCP co-founder Dr. Geoff Tabin, the organization performed hundreds of life-changing surgeries to the Hamar people. Vuarnet mineral glass lenses provided peak protection from the Ethiopian sun during critical post-surgery days. Postoperative cataract patients’ eyes are inflamed and very sensitive to sunlight. Sunglasses are necessary to aid in the healing processes and keep patients comfortable. 

HCP has worked in Ethiopia since 2010 but this was the first cataract intervention with the Hamar tribe. The Hamar people are among the most remote and least modernized people on the planet. HCP trained local ophthalmologists in Abraminch and residents from the training program in Addis Ababa. In the seven days HCP was in Ethiopia, the organization restored sight to more than 1100 blind people including nearly 200 from the Hamar tribe. 

“Cataract surgery is arguably the most impactful intervention in medicine. People are transformed from blindness to perfect vision for less than sixty dollars per surgery. In Ethiopia, an estimated 600,000 people are needlessly blind from cataracts. Worldwide 16 million blind people can be restored to sight (and life) with cataract surgery.” – Dr. Geoffry Tabin

Ethiopia, with a population of 105 million people has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 1.6 percent. To date, HCP has provided over four million screenings and over 525,000 life-changing surgeries in the country. 17 million people are blind due to untreated cataracts, a condition that can be cured with a ten-minute surgery and $25 in material costs.

Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Dr. Geoff Tabin started the Himalayan Cataract Project to fulfill their personal goals of eradicating as much unnecessary blindness in their lifetimes as possible. HCP’s mission is to cure needless blindness with high-quality, cost-effective eye care in underserved areas of the world.

 

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THE SHADES OF LOVE

At Vuarnet, protecting our customers’ eyes is our primary commitment: it therefore seemed obvious to us to give our support to populations living in the most extreme conditions of light.

This is the reason why we support the Shades of Love association, which aims to help people in remote regions of the Himalayas and the Andes with the importance of protecting their eyes. So, for any purchase of a Vuarnet model on our eshop and boutiques, we offer a new sunglasses to the association with our Buy One, Give One program.

SHADES OF LOVE. The Himalayan Eyewear Project

«For each pair of Vuarnet purchased, we are committed to offer on your behalf a new pair of sunglasses to the association SHADES OF LOVE » 

Shade of Love is a charity organization created by two friends, Jürgen Altman and Jean Nerva’s. Their goal? Collects and distributes sunglasses from manufacturers and individuals to distribute them to people living in remote areas of Himalaya and Andes. At an altitude of 2,500 to 5,000 meters, people are exposed to intense sunlight – and thus harmful UV rays – year round. About 80% of the population suffers from eye damage and serious eye diseases.

The impact has been intensified throughout the last years due to the hole in the ozone layer. Based on this development many victims are becoming increasingly unable to work and provide for their families. Unique indigenous cultures are hence forced to resettle to the cities and valleys. However it is so simple to prevent such structural migration of these unique people and to provide protection.

The unorthodox approach of Shades Of Love has proven to be very effective and transparent. Before each new mission, we send our sunglasses to Shades of Love who distribute them directly among the world’s highest summits and villages. In this way, they combine expedition with humanitarian aid, two importants commitment for Vuarnet.

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