In 2011, we launched our second One for One product -- TOMS Eyewear -- and our brand was forever changed. We were no longer just a shoe company, serving the mission of providing shoes to children in need. We became a One for One company, using our business model to change lives. TOMS Shoes put us on the map, but we are having an incredible impact through TOMS Eyewear and our mission to help restore sight.
Year-round, we work with our Sight Giving Partners to support eye camps and screenings in regions and at schools that don't otherwise have access to eye care. With our partners, we've been able to help restore sight for hundreds of thousands globally (including the United States!) through prescription glasses, medical treatment, and surgeries like cataract.
This Thursday, October 10, marks World Sight Day, a day created by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness to raise awareness for blindness and visual impairment.
Let me give you a rundown of the facts:
- 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, but 80 percent of these cases are curable or preventable.
- About 90 percent of the world's visually impaired people live in developing countries.
- Over 12 million children worldwide have visual impairment that can be improved with glasses.
You may not realize it at first, but restoring sight can lead to independence and economic opportunity: when you can see, you can work, help at home, walk independently, and you can be part of the community.
For example, our Sight Giving Partners share many stories where young people are held back at home to help an elderly family member who has lost their vision. When we help provide treatments, surgeries, or corrective lenses to restore the elderly person's sight, we're often not only helping the individual, we're helping their families, too.
While some of these stats and stories are very serious, we've decided to have a little fun with our participation in World Sight Day this year: we're asking you to #BESHADY with the TOMS community on October 10.
What's that mean? Wear your shades inside -- something typically reserved for rock stars (and people who want to be rock stars)! When you catch co-workers or classmates giving you a funny look, take advantage of the conversation starter. Tell them you're doing this for World Sight Day. To raise awareness. To be part of something bigger than yourself.
People from around the world are already pledging their participation. Check out thisinteractive page.
So put on your shades, snap a selfie, and share it across social media! Include some of the facts and include #BESHADY so we can check it out. I'll be doing the same where ever I am, and the TOMS headquarters will be, too (which should be a ridiculous photo - make sure you're following our instagram for all of that...).