Bringing a Better Life into Focus

In the rural village of Keharpura in Rajasthan, India, opportunity for women generally means the chance to clean the house.

But Ranju Sharma quickly finishes her chores - she has patients to see, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

"Before I was known as the wife of my husband, "Sharma said. "But now I have my own identity."

For almost three years, Sharma has treated basic ailments in this village. Six months ago she added eye care to her services with the help of a nonprofit called VisionSpring.

Vision Spring is bringing basic care to tens of thousands of communities around the world where seeing an eye doctor simply may not be an option. All of it is thanks to an optometrist thousands of miles away.

It was founded in 2001 by New York City eye doctor Jordan Kassalow, who, while on medical missions in the developing world, realized western doctors were not always needed.

"A third of our time and effort and resources are going to taking care of people who the local people should be able to take care of," Kassalow said.

So Kassalow's VisionSpring provides an often-missing component of rural healthcare: eyeglasses.

At weekly clinics, VisionSpring workers provide free eye testing and sell new reading glasses at a profit of about $1.50.

This is what VisionSpring calls "business in a bag" - it's basically a couple of different grades of reading glasses - the type of glasses you could by in a drug store in the United States.

"If you can't see, you can't work," Kassalow said.

Gugan Ram sure knows that - his failing eyesight was not good for business as a barber.

"Before I couldn't see what I was doing, and people were unhappy with my work," he said. "Now I'm happy with the final product."

It's Dr. Kassalow's vision at work - where just a few dollars buys a pair of glasses, boosts and economy and brightens a woman's future.

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