Charismatic Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem has 'donated' his iris to the Eyes of the World Foundation, a non-for-profit organisation that contributes to improving the eye health of the poor in developing countries.
'Iris of the World' is a new fundraising campaign by Eyes of the World, and the No Country for Old Men star is the first celebrity to back the initiative. It aims to raise funds by auctioning the exclusive image of the iris of a number of famous people to contribute to the fight against avoidable blindness in vulnerable areas of our planet, which can be prevented and treated with the right care and resources.
"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.
The auction of an image of Javier Bardem's iris, with a starting price of $9,000 that kickstarts the initiative, will be sold as a unique, digital non-fungible token (NFT) and a photographic print authenticated by the Spanish actor.
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.
Ojos del Mundo (Eyes of the World in Spanish) was founded in Barcelona in 2001 and is dedicated to treating avoidable blindness through direct intervention and by training local people to continue the work, with projects treating Saharawis in refugee camps in Algeria, as well as in Mali, Bolivia and Mozambique. 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.
The auction will take place online at www.irisesoftheworld.org from 29 September until 6 October.