The charity raised $175,000 through the Vitamin Shoppe's retail outlets in the month of September as part of its Operation 20/20. "With this donation, more than half a million children will be able to see," said Tom Tolworthy, CEO of the Vitamin Shoppe. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a public health problem in more than 50 per cent of all countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and causes blindness in up to 500,000 children each year. The human body converts beta-carotene in the diet into vitamin A. According to Vitamin Angels and the Vitamin Shoppe, one high-dose vitamin A capsule, given to a child twice a year for four years is enough to help prevent that child from going blind from VAD. The cost of this minimal supplementation is only 25 cents per child, per year. "The Vitamin Shoppe's contribution will be life changing for thousands of at-risk children," said Howard Schiffer, executive director of Vitamin Angels. "We're grateful for their partnership in helping us fight this global malnutrition epidemic to save the lives of children around the world." Of the more than 140 million children annually who get VAD, says Vitamin Angels, up to 500,000 will go blind, and half of the children who become blind will die within 12 months from associated diseases and infections.