The Eyes of the World Foundation has launched 'Iris of the World' to raise awareness of the deficiencies in eye care in the most vulnerable areas of the world, and to defend the universal right to vision. The project aims to raise funds by auctioning the exclusive image of the iris of a number of famous people. The initiative kickstarts with the auction of an image of actor Javier Bardem's iris, transformed into an NFT, with a starting price of $9,000. The Foundation will use the earnings to expand its lines of action and/or to promote new projects in the Sahara, Mozambique, Bolivia and Mali, territories in which it operates
Actor Javier Bardem is the first celebrity to back the initiative and has 'donated' his iris with the aim of raising as much money as possible to contribute to the fight against avoidable blindness, which can be prevented and treated with the right care and resources. Effectively, the actor's eyes will help to open others’ eyes.
"To be able to see, to be able to hear, to be able to touch or to be able to feel are things that we don't appreciate until we lose them. To be able to feel all the emotions that happen through sight and have an impact on us is an emotional and spiritual phenomenon. For this reason, I am happy to collaborate with 'Iris del mundo' by donating a photograph of my iris to be auctioned and to continue helping the Foundation's work on avoidable blindness," said Javier Bardem.
Director of the Eyes of the World Foundation, Anna Barba said: "Javier has been very generous in sharing something very personal and exclusive with Eyes of the World: his iris. It is a sign of identity, a witness of unique moments that can now be owned by whoever wins the bid thanks to this inspiring, original and unique photograph. His iris allows us to open many other irises". Barba added that "with this project we want to communicate that the right to vision should not be subject to the availability of economic resources of a person or a country. It is a question of giving sight back to those thousands of people without resources who suffer from serious eye problems that can be prevented or treated if action is taken in time", she remarked.
Eyes of the World estimates the cost of an eye check-up at $7 and a cataract operation at $7. The scope of the initiative will depend on the amounts raised at the various auctions.
Depending on the resources, the Foundation will use the amount raised to expand its lines of action and/or to promote new projects in the Saharawi camps, Mozambique, Bolivia and Mali, territories in which it operates.
Rafael Ribó (President), Anna Barba (Director) and Nuria Ramon (Strategic Collaborations)
Making avoidable blindness visible
Millions of people in developing countries suffer from eye problems caused by hygienic and sanitary deficiencies, adverse climatic conditions or traumatisms suffered during armed conflicts. Specifically, there are 1.1 billion people worldwide with vision loss and it is estimated that 90% of cases of visual impairment could be prevented or cured, according to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Avoidable blindness - blindness that can be prevented with the right care and resources - has a major impact on people in the most vulnerable territories: 90% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries.
These figures are even more telling when you consider that 161 million people suffer from uncorrected refractive errors, 100 million suffer from cataracts and a further 510 million have difficulty seeing up close. Furthermore, according to the IAPB, 55% of visually impaired people are women.
Certified and exclusive work at a starting price of $9,000
With a starting price of $9,000, the auction is aimed at anyone who would like to be the proud owner of a photograph of Javier Bardem's iris. The image will be delivered to the buyer in two formats: a digital NFT file and a printed photograph signed and dedicated by the actor, both authenticated as unique pieces. Whoever acquires them will have exclusive ownership of them in their own right.
The auction, in which it will be possible to participate through the www.irisesoftheworld.org, will start 29 September at 12pm UTC and run until 6 October at 6pm.
Eyes of the World is in talks with other personalities from the world of art, culture and sport to promote new solidarity auctions of NFTs and printed photographs in the future.
About the Eyes of the World Foundation
The Eyes of the World Foundation is a non-for-profit organisation that contributes to improving the eye health of the poor in impoverished countries. The aim is to enable them to receive quality ophthalmological care from their local health services, as well as to create optimal conditions to reduce the incidence of eye diseases in each territory. Eyes of the World also raises public awareness of the deficiencies in basic health care in those areas.
Founded in 2001 by its current president, Rafael Ribó, and its vice-president, Borja Corcóstegui, the Foundation's origins stem from a trip by its founders to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, to carry out a humanitarian aid project for the displaced population. The precarious situation in which they live, and the visual deficiencies suffered by the local population made them realise the need to create an entity that would help to improve these conditions.
During its more than 20 years of existence, the organisation has checked the eyesight of almost one million people and operated on more than 37,000. In addition, 13,000 specialists have been trained thanks to Eyes of the World over these two decades. In 2021, it treated more than 131,000 people, performed more than 3,400 cataract operations and trained more than 550 professionals.
With projects in the Sahara, Mozambique, Bolivia and Mali, the Foundation has its headquarters in Barcelona, and a network of national delegations in Andalusia, the Basque Country, Navarre, Valencia and Madrid. It also has territorial centres in Portugal, France, Switzerland and Argentina. The international projection of the organisation is completed with its participation in the Board of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).