80 per cent of the world's blind population are blind because they were born in the wrong place. You are less likely to go blind in Japan, the second richest nation in the world, than in Burkina Faso in Africa, one of the three poorest. Jarret Schecter followed the work of Orbis, an international organisation who provide free and inexpensive eye treatment in impoverished nations, among them Burkina Faso.
"Visiting Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest countries, I sensed that there was a disproportionate number of people deprived of sight. Back in the United States, in February 2002, I discovered that 8 out 10 blind people live in the developing world. Astounding as this statistic is, I was even more surprise to learn that the vast majority of blindness in the world is preventable. Incredibly, most preventable blindness is cured through inexpensive procedures, that literally last minutes".
Like many residual problems of poverty that are endemic to the developing world, people in the developed world do not make an intuitive link between blindness and poverty. The association is not made and the magnitude of the problem is even much less understood. Approximately, 80% of the world's 50 million blind people are blind because they were born in the wrong place. They are blind due to the residual effects of poverty: vitamin A deficiency, unsanitary conditions, minimal healthcare, and other issues. At the moment, in the world, 40 million people suffer from preventable blindness and around 125 million can barely see due to impoverished conditions. Although the developed world has done relatively little thus far, there are fortunately certain international organisations that are declaring war on preventable blindness. Organisations such as Orbis provide free or inexpensive eye treatment to people who needlessly suffer from preventable blindness. Through Orbis, ophthalmologists and support staff, whom in many instances volunteer, heroically and tirelessly travel throughout the world's poorest countries to give sight to those who are arbitrarily prevented from seeing.