When you realise how well we live in Australia, you understand the needs of others for very basic things is far greater than our own need for a second cup of coffee. Australia has the wealth to ensure no child or adult has a vision problem. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, second only to banking hotbed Switzerland in terms of our nation’s wealth per adult.1
The problem is the distribution of our wealth and resources. More than 50 per cent of people in Australia have a net wealth of AU$125,000 or more, which is seven times the global average, while the bottom 50 per cent own only 6 per cent of the nation’s wealth and 11 per cent, or nearly three million people, live below the ‘poverty line’. Every year the gap widens.2
Good vision should be available to anyone, yet in a country with one of the highest living standards, 25 per cent of children are affected by undetected vision problems. The further you go into regional Australia, the more problems you see, primarily due to poor health, a lack of education or the financial means to do something about it. If a child’s vision problems are detected early it can make a massive difference to their learning, their concentration, and overall confidence – all because they can see.
In eye health, it’s exciting that there are many groups working to correct the imbalance, to restore sight to those who can’t afford to care for their own eyes.
the sole meaning of life is to serve humanity
A month after we launched mivision, more than 11 years ago, the late great Professor Brien Holden stood on a small platform at Southern Regional Congress and spoke about his passion for Optometry Giving Sight. He showed a video of a mother putting on a pair of glasses for the first time. She smiled, leapt around, danced… she hugged the glasses! She was finally able to clearly see her kids’ faces.
That change to a person’s life did it for me and us as a team. It is something that still drives us today. That was what it was about. The difference corrected vision can make to a person’s life. That ‘wow’ moment when an individual’s life is changed forever.
Tolstoy said, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”
You serve others every day. Volunteering takes service to another level.
Volunteering means taking time out of your practice, but it’s a massive benefit to others. It also builds community because it brings people together to work on a goal.
There is something about doing good for people who are in need that provides a great sense of accomplishment; a sense of personal satisfaction and identity. The person whose vision is corrected is now able to participate in activities their vision previously prevented. This builds their confidence and in turn enables them to contribute to their community.
No matter who we are or what status we have in life, we can play a part in serving others.
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good”. Aristotle said that more than 2,300 years ago and it still rings true today.