Its purpose is to give visibility to and acknowledge the work of these professionals to provide quality eye care to the most disadvantaged groups

Luzes seeks to be a long-term project and promote action to share experiences, favor collaboration, recruit volunteers, etc.

This project was started up with the Luzes magazine, whose first issue explains the Eyes of Bolivia project, presented by National Geographic photographer Tino Soriano.

Acknowledging the solidarity-based activities of Spanish ophthalmologists who fight against avoidable blindness around the world: this is the raison d'être and the purpose of the Luzes Project launched by ESTEVE Ophthalmology. This initiative was just started up with the publication of the Luzes magazine, and seeks to be a long-term project and a meeting point to promote new solidarity-based actions to meet the ocular needs of the most disadvantaged groups, both internationally and in Spain.

According to the WHO, there are some three hundred million visually impaired people around the world. In many countries, particularly the most disadvantaged ones, many of these people go blind for a number of reasons, some of which can be avoided. In fact, cataracts are presently the leading cause of blindness in the world, and it is estimated that 80% of the total global number of cases of visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

"The Luzes Project is born to disseminate the solidarity-based activities developed by Spanish ophthalmologists both locally and in the most distant countries, and is a graphic and literary testimony of these activities. We ultimately aim to shed light on this important, altruistic, selfless medical work", Dr. Enrique González Morales, director of the Luzes magazine, explains.

Dr. Enrique González adds that "we also want this project to be a meeting point of Spanish supportive ophthalmology to back these initiatives or promote new actions". To this end, the Luzes Project expects to generate new ideas that contribute to this dissemination and acknowledgement, and is assisted by persons like Tino Soriano, a photographer and photojournalist at National Geographic for the past twenty years.

"As a photographer, I am particularly sensitive to vision-related issues. When ESTEVE presented the project to me -an ambitious plan to create a photographic legacy that perpetuates the work of people who devote part of their time to help the visually impaired- it seemed like a great idea", Tino Soriano states. "Alerting society to the important mission it has to solve is indispensable".

A solidarity-based project that goes much further

The introduction letter of the Luzes Project is a print magazine of the same name that provides a graphic and literary testimony of the solidarity-based activities carried out by Spanish ophthalmologists. To this end, each new issue will gather some of the ongoing initiatives in disadvantaged countries or in Spain.

"This magazine includes entities involved in solidarity-based projects, interviews with renowned ophthalmologists, such as Dr. Elena Barraquer, or the testimony of media people who collaborate with solidarity-based causes", Dr. Enrique González Morales explains. "We also address the importance of vision as a key sense in its different facets: philosophical, artistic and in the daily life".

Luzes, however, wants to go further and become a wider project, including a magazine, a website and complementary activities -events, contests, attendance to congresses- for the purpose of sharing experiences, favouring collaboration, taking new actions, gathering ideas and volunteers, and ultimately supporting the development and continuity of solidarity-based ophthalmology.

Eyes of Bolivia 2016: the first testimony of the Luzes magazine

A girl who lost her sight at the age of 20 and is now completing her physiotherapy degree as top of her class, a grandfather who sees her granddaughter for the first time after undergoing cataract surgery, work at a field hospital… these are stories gathered in the first issue of the Luzes magazine and performed by the Eyes of Bolivia 2016 Project, an initiative of the Eyes of the World organization.

This social and healthcare expedition was carried out in a large territory around the Bolivian city of Tarija, where 70% of the population is classified as poor, very poor or indigent, and where only one fourth of this population has access to eye care under appropriate conditions. This territory is inhabited by thousands of people with cataract blindness and by patients with all kinds of eye conditions which, in many cases, originate from malnutrition and poor hygiene and care conditions, but which, also in many cases, can be solved with the currently available techniques.

The Luzes magazine offers the most human side of the activities carried out by Eyes of Bolivia 2016 with a unique testimony: that of photographer and photojournalist Tino Soriano, who participates in this solidarity-based project. "We had to start with a specific action, and this foundation invited us to participate in one of the projects currently underway in Bolivia: cataract surgery in people who cannot afford this procedure", Tino Soriano explains. And he adds: "this feature seeks to lead us to reflect on the healthcare reality of other countries while acknowledging and dignifying the invaluable solidarity between ophthalmologists and patients, who ultimately are the true protagonists of the story".

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