This Foundation Has Provided Eyesight To 4 Million People In Developing Countries

A nonprofit organization has a bright vision for the future.

There are 285 million people worldwide living with low vision and blindness, according to the World Health Organization, but 80 percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. However, access to treatment isn’t so simple for many developing countries.

A California-based organization, the Seva Foundation, has been working tirelessly for decades to eradicate this global issue. Since its establishment in 1978, the organization has grown internationally to restore sight and prevent blindness in more than 20 developing countries around the world. Partnering intimately with Aravind Eye Hospitals in India, Seva’s mission is to cure, not just treat, the 40 million people around the globe with blindness.

And on Oct. 8, World Sight Day, Seva — inspired by Sanskrit word for “service” — is celebrating by providing sight to its 4 millionth patient.

The Huffington Post spoke with Larry Brilliant, Seva Foundation co-founder, about the history of the organization, the development of efficient and affordable eyesight innovations and Seva’s vision for the future.

The Huffington Post: Describe the Seva Foundation and its history. How did you get to where you are today?

Larry Brilliant: My wife and I lived almost 10 years in India and during that time worked there to eradicate smallpox. We were successful, and when we came back, we wrote an article about our experiences in India and the people we’d met who helped us. We’d worked for the U.N. and CDC, and many people read what we’d written and sent us money out of the blue. We decided we would start a foundation with the money, and decide what we wanted to work on next — and it was blindness. A friend, Dr. G Venkataswamy, had started the Aravind Eye Hospital, in —> Read More