The worth of a pair of spectacles

This article is available for historical purposes and may be out of date.

A man traveled a little over five hours from his small village to the bustling city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. Ten years previously he had gotten a pair of spectacles from Mazar.  He was very pleased with these glasses and wore them frequently.  At last, the frame wore out, and he made himself a new pair of frames with a mix of metal and other materials.  

It took him the ten years from when he first got his pair of glasses to decide that it was worth the time, the strenuous journey, and the expense of traveling to Mazar to see if new lenses would be any better than the ones he had.  

In the end, the lenses were so scratched he decided to make the trip and see if he could get new lenses.  When he arrived, after an eye examination, he had to be persuaded to try stronger lenses with a new prescription, because he was sure the strength was just right.

Once, he accepted the fact that he should try his new eye glass prescription; he quickly realized what he had been missing and wanted to buy 3 or 4 pairs at the same strength.  When he left to return to his village he went satisfied his journey had been worth the trip.  

So many of this man’s problems came from the fact he could not see an eye doctor or any kind of eye health worker closer to his home.  A five hour journey, over a certain percentage of unpaved roads, through dangerous territory, having to stay a couple of nights in the city of Mazar to get the examination, and waiting for a return bus to his village, is a strong deterrent.  No wonder it took this elderly man, ten years to make the effort and the expense.  

NOOR strives to reach these out of the way places, and this year went to many different provinces of the country to administer examinations for their Ophthalmic Technician programme.  Currently, there are twenty students from different areas of the country, going through the two year course.  

Read more about the Ophthalmic Technician Programme here.