10th year anniversary

2 million strong in reader and sunglass donations for RestoringVision! In partnership with over 750 humanitarian groups in over 75 countries, RestoringVision changes lives!

This month, RestoringVision.org, a small nonprofit based in San Rafael, CA. will celebrate their 10th year anniversary and the charitable distribution of 2 million pairs of reading glasses and sunglasses in developing countries around the globe. RestoringVision works to change the lives of those unable to read, maintain a job, or remain a productive member of their community because they can’t focus close up and lack access to a simple tool; reading glasses.

“It is estimated that about 800M people in the developing world are unable to see clearly simply because they do not have access to glasses. About half of these people only need a simple pair of reading glasses to read or see up close. RestoringVision is solving that problem.” says Mark Sachs, CEO and Founder of RestoringVision.

Generous donations of excess inventory of new readers and sunglasses from eyewear companies make this effort possible, as well as a network of humanitarian groups who distribute readers and sunglasses on their mission trips. Reading glasses enable individuals to improve productivity and generate income for their families and sunglasses are an important preventive tool in fighting corneal and cataract damage from excessive exposure to UV light.

“The reading glasses and sunglasses were a big hit. We were on the southern island of Kadavu in the small village of Drue. Of the 300 pair of glasses & sunglasses that we took, we gave away about 225 or so. The balance were taken to the hospital’s vision doctor for distribution. Everyone was so thankful for the glasses so they could read their bibles. A BIG thank you to RestoringVision. God Bless you! We hope to return next year to a different village.” ~ Pastor Dan

“Without the ability to focus close up and see clearly, an individual loses their livelihood and self esteem, a family loses much-needed income and a community loses a productive member of their society.” says David Chute, Board member and CEO of i2C Ventures in Atherton, California.

“2 million is a fantastic number; we are very happy to have made such an impact in our first ten years, but there is much more work to be done and we need to spread the word to mission and humanitarian aid groups who work internationally to help us in this effort” says Sachs. “Right now, we have thousands of pairs of new readers and sunglasses from leading eyewear companies in warehouses ready for good Samaritans to distribute in developing countries. Adding the distribution of readers to their mission is an easy, inexpensive and rewarding way to dramatically change lives.”

“It was so gratifying to watch as many saw clearly for the first time in years. Many shouted “normal” and “clear” in Creole at the top of their voice!” ~ Dr. Kastner

Sachs continues: “We want more groups to be aware of how simple it is to get the glasses, learn how and then set up a simple dispensary. We provide everything they need.”

Sight can make the difference between a life of poverty and a life of opportunity. For more information on RestoringVision, please contact Mark Sachs @ mark@restoringvision.org and visit http://www.restoringvision.org/ RestoringVision video http://www.restoringvision.org/mission-videos/

One Man Had a Vision – and Now One Million Unprivileged People Can See Better for it

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3 /PRNewswire/ — By day, Mark Sachs is a product manager for Blue Shield of California, where he helpsCalifornia policyholders get the support they need to protect their health.

By night, Sachs is a virtual one-man healthcare machine, seeing to it that poverty-stricken people around the world get the much-needed vision correction they can’t get anywhere else.

Now, just seven years after founding RestoringVision.org in the basement of his home north of San Francisco, Sachs’ non-profit organization has reached a milestone achievement: issuing its millionth pair of reading glasses, which Damascus Road Community Church recently delivered during a mission to Honduras.

“It’s wonderful and humbling at the same time,” said Sachs. “I wanted to do something to help people, but I never would have dreamed that we’d be able to help so many people in so many different places as quickly as we have.”

The idea for RestoringVision.org came to Sachs during an eye-opening trip he made to Mexico in 1997.

“While I was there, I couldn’t believe how many people were struggling to get by with obvious vision problems – and then I realized that a huge percentage of these problems could be fixed with just a simple pair of reading glasses,” said Sachs. “So, I decided to do something about it.”

What Sachs did was reach out to leading eye care companies and share his vision: instead of just warehousing or writing off overstocked readers, the companies could provide the glasses to RestoringVision.org, which would then handle the logistics of getting them to mission groups headed out to improve the lives of others.

Reader manufacturers Zoom Eyeworks and Foster Grant agreed to supply Sachs with product, while companies like Transitions Optical and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses stepped up with cash support.

According to Reade Fahs, America’s Best CEO, Sachs and RestoringVision.org are serving a glaring need.

“There are roughly 670 million people in the world who need vision correction, and around 40 percent of the glasses they need are standard reading glasses,” said Fahs. “But these people simply don’t have the access or means to acquire them. Mark Sachs and RestoringVision.org have done an absolutely awe-inspiring job of filling that need.”

RestoringVision.org has the assistance of a handful of dedicated volunteers and supporters. Document management company Ft. Docs has donated storage space for all of the glasses since the beginning, while the group Becoming Independent which works with developmentally challenged adults, assembles them into mission-ready packages consisting of 300 pairs of readers of assorted powers.

So far, RestoringVision.org has distributed roughly $10 million worth of kits of readers and sunglasses to missions bound for Haiti,Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Ghana, Honduras, India, Peru, El Salvador, and Nigeria.

“One million pairs is a tremendous milestone, but I have no intention of slowing down,” said Sachs. “I encourage any groups that are planning a mission to visit our website, restoringvision.org, and make distributing reading glasses a meaningful part of their commitment to the people they serve.”

Founded in 2003, RestoringVision.org is a non-profit effort that delivers reading glasses and sunglasses to underprivileged people worldwide that desperately need them. Citing the need for low overhead and the favorable commute, founder Mark Sachs continues to operate the organization from his basement north of San Francisco.