The Countess of Wessex has spoken out on her work with eradicating blindness to mark World Sight Day 2013.
In her first article for a national newspaper Sophie says that most of the world’s blind people are living in the developing world, which can be life threatening to the people having to deal with daily life in harsh environments.
“We are fortunate in the United Kingdom that support is widely available,” the Countess writes for The Telegraph. “This is not the case in much of the developing world, where 90% of the world’s blind live. There, the difference between being able to see or not can literally be a matter of life and death.”
Sophie adds: “80% of the world’s visually impaired people lose their sight needlessly through preventable eye conditions.”
The wife of Prince Edward has worked continuously with eye-care charities since joining the Royal Family. The caring Countess is currently patron of Vision 2020, The Right to Sight and in 2011 she became the Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
Most recently, Sophie undertook a week-long visit to India and Qatar where she witnessed the work of V2020’s partner ORBIS which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving sight worldwide.
“ORBIS runs the extraordinary Flying Eye Hospital, a converted DC-10 plane which travels to developing countries performing crucial sight-saving surgery,” Sophie writes. “It offers world class surgery.”
Sophie speaks of the exceptional hard-working volunteers who are taking the time to help in restoring eye-sight and preventing conditions which can lead to blindness.
“I can understand why the volunteer surgeons who do this work give of themselves so freely time after time.
“The restoration of someone’s sight is a unique and privileged event to witness.”
The Countess who is mother to Lady Louise and Viscount Severn adds: “Fundraising is vital and I am hugely grateful to those who support the life changing work these organisations do.”
Sophie and husband Prince Edward are currently visiting South Africa to represent The Queen.