Documentary Reveals Revolutionary Cure For Blindness In Poor Communities

Although they spend each day side-by-side, Durga and Manisara haven’t seen each other in over 15 years. A married couple living in the hills of Nepal, they both suffered from deteriorating eyesight over the past few decades, until finally they could only make out changes in light, but not the presence of nearby shapes.

“My grandchildren and children, I used to know their faces. But these days, I don’t recognize anyone,” Manisara says in a new documentary titled “Open Your Eyes.” She indicates a spry granddaughter cuddled up on her lap. “Maybe her toes are just like mine. When I feel her toes and the sole of her foot, it feels like mine. Soon I will know.”

Manisara and her husband are unfortunately not anomalies in their village and in others like it around the world. Take a close look into their eyes, and you’ll notice their colorful irises are dulled by a milky white coat. Their blindness results from cataracts — a curable condition responsible for the loss of sight in poor communities worldwide. In fact, according to the documentary, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, 90 percent of those who suffer from cataracts live in the world’s poorest countries.

But the barrage of unsettling facts listed at the beginning of the film aren’t hopeless statistics. Although the cost of fixing cataract blindness used to be around $500, it’s now available for the price of a cup of coffee.

“It may sound like a cliche, but it actually happens,” Brodsky said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “Here’s a problem we can solve! Oftentimes documentaries illuminate pressing questions of our time, but the answers are not always obvious. My film shows how a relatively simple six-minute surgery [...] can give someone their life back.”

Brodsky was —> Read More