SAN FRANCISCO—RestoringVision will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Oct. 2, 2023, recognizing 20 years of global impact and 25 million lives transformed through the power of clear vision. RestoringVision is a global nonprofit dedicated to creating equitable access to vision services and eyeglasses for people living in extreme poverty worldwide. Founded in 2003 by Mark Sachs, the organization recognizes this momentous milestone alongside its unparalleled network of 2,700 NGO and government partners by strengthening its commitment to solving the global vision crisis.

Over 1 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. Ninety percent live in impoverished communities worldwide without the ability to access or afford the vision care they need. About 826 million people only need reading glasses to correct their vision and gain sustained livelihoods as a result.

“RestoringVision’s 20th anniversary serves as a symbolic occasion to celebrate our progress and programming thus far as we simultaneously draw attention to the profound impact that vision correction, facilitated by the provision of vision screenings and eyeglasses, can have on people's lives,” said Pelin Munis, Ph.D., CEO, RestoringVision. “From its beginnings as a grassroots organization operating out of our founder, Mark Sachs’s basement, to now being one of the largest optical nonprofits in the world and collaborating with the World Health Organization, I am unbelievably proud of RestoringVision’s evolution and look forward to our continued global advocacy for people in need worldwide.”

In 1994, Sachs was working as a marketing director in the optical industry and was invited by LensCrafters to join their corporate social responsibility program on a trip to Albania. A year later, he went to Mexico, and after seeing the overwhelming need for eyeglasses worldwide, RestoringVision was born out of his drive to make a difference for people in need.

“I'm proud of the organization and the vision partners who have made this happen,” Sachs, RestoringVision’s founder, chair emeritus, and advisor stated. “It's an impressive milestone that translates into better lives and livelihoods for people around the world. I look forward to RestoringVision's continued success in the years ahead.”

“The global vision crisis is a solvable problem and the lives that we are able to transform with a pair of eyeglasses propels us forward to remain fiercely committed to our collective vision as an organization—a world where everyone who needs glasses has them,” said Kevin Hassey, board chair, RestoringVision. “Reaching this 20-year milestone is a testament to the dedication of our corporate, foundation, individual donors, the vision of Mark Sachs, our founder, and to the dedication of the RestoringVision board of directors, partners and team under the leadership of Pelin Munis, Ph.D., CEO.”

Ambassador (retired) Mary Ann Peters and former CEO of The Carter Center joined the RestoringVision board of directors in 2021. Peters has supported RestoringVision’s movement toward increased global advocacy for the prioritization of eye health worldwide.

“In its 20th year, RestoringVision is an advocate for eye health on the global stage, working to advance 8 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a member of the UN Friends of Vision, collaborating with the World Health Organization on global initiatives to prioritize vision health, and as a valuable member of the Coalition for Clear Vision Steering Committee,” Peters said. “The momentum is building and the time for action is now.”