Sunglasses rarely suit me. Which is a shame as I wear them all the time, winter or summer. I have sensitive eyes, maybe because of the years of contact lenses — I have a –8 prescription, so have to correct my sight. I also don’t much like being photographed, which is why you’ll see me in sunglasses in about 80% of the photos on this site. (It’s also because I’m lazy, and sunglasses obviate the need for a layer of polyfiller and eye makeup.)
So: imagine my joy when I was sent these two pairs of sunglasses by the TOMS publicist here in London. They flatter! They are good quality! They have proper UV protection!
they do GOOD. Quadruple whammy of joy. You’ve probably heard of TOMS by now, if not you’ll certainly have seen the ubiquitous TOMS cotton espadrilles: I swear every third person in San Francisco was wearing them the other weekend, and in London they seem to have been the footwear du jour of the summer for a while now.
Founder and Brand owner Blake Mycoskie started with shoes, and the idea of One for One. His company put new shoes on children’s feet in the developing world with every pair they purchase. And, whilst giving some of these shoes to children in need, Mycoskie was struck by the poverty in many of the communities he was serving. So he decided that TOMS should be a One for One™ company. With so many different needs around the world, he felt TOMS had an obligation to try to improve as many lives as possible.
So the next step for TOMS has been sunglasses — for both women and men. So one person buys a pair of TOMS glasses, and one person receives the eye care that he or she needs. That care is delivered through partnerships with expert eye care organizations on the ground, giving either medical treatment, sight saving surgery or prescription eyeglasses. (Do check out Warby Parker and their chic philanthopic eyeglasses too, which I wrote about here.)
I’m going to lift some of these facts verbatim because they are too important to ignore. Being chronically myopic & astigmatic myself, I appreciate what living in the developed world has meant to me. Without corrective eyewear, I would be living in a world of shadows, unable to discern faces, unable to read, cook, walk safely, do any of the things necessary to live a fulfilled life.
*Blindness and visual impairment is the seventh-largest health disability in the world. But in most cases it can be prevented or treated. In fact, available solutions, including medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses or a 15-minute cataract surgery, could impact 80% of people afflicted with vision impairment and blindness
*Of the nearly 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, almost 90% live in developing countries. It’s a vicious cycle — poverty and disease can lead to vision loss. And blindness and poor vision keep people trapped in poverty.
*Two-thirds of people who are blind are women, in part because many families in developing countries are more likely to pay for eye care for male family members. By providing easy to access local eye care, we can help more women and girls around the world get sight saving and restoring services.
*More than 19 million children around the world suffer from blindness or impaired vision. 90% of children who are blind do not attend school. Children who have trouble seeing are often unable to go to or succeed in school, and have fewer chances to achieve a productive and successful life.
*Many of the solutions to blindness and visual impairment can be immediate. If it’s a pair of eyeglasses or medical treatment that’s needed, patients are treated on the spot. Those needing eye surgery are referred immediately so their vision can be restored within just a few days.
Here’s the sunglasses: www.toms.co.uk for both men & women
Both photos taken at The Mayr Clinic, on the shores of Lake Worth Austria.