CURABLE BLINDNESS

Restoring sight transforms lives. The change goes beyond the lives of individuals, for example, a sight restored mother can look after her children, go back to work, enabling her daughter to return to school. Cataract surgery is one of the most cost effective anti-poverty actions and is truly life changing. We have funded over 250,000 life transforming cataract surgeries.

Globally 39 million people are blind. Cataract is the worlds’ leading cause of blindness, affecting 18 million people worldwide.

Blindness is a manifestation of poverty; the poorest people can’t afford surgery, have inadequate diets which contribute to poor eye health and often live in rural areas with little or no access to healthcare. Having lost their vision, they inevitably lose their livelihood and their ability to support their family. Blindness drives people deeper into poverty.

Yet 80% of blindness can be easily prevented or treated through simple, low cost surgery. India shoulders the world’s largest burden of blindness – over 15 million people are blind, almost 80% due to cataract and uncorrected refractive errors.

In Nigeria, one million people are blind and a further 3 million are visually impaired, mostly caused by curable cataract.

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We believe nobody should have to live or die blind due to cataract.

Devika Waney, Trustee

OUR WORK

We chose to work in rural areas with a high incidence of blindness and limited access to eye care. Our goal is simple; to work with eye hospitals to eliminate curable blindness by ensuring people have access to high quality eye surgery and ophthalmic care.

BIHAR

In Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, 1.4 million people are blind due to cataract, making it one of the highest concentrations of cataract blind people in the world.

For the last 8 years we’ve worked hand in hand with the Akhand Jyoti Eke Hospital (AJEH) to combat blindness across the state.

We’ve funded surgeries, a new hospital ward to increase surgical capacity and implemented rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems. In 2016 we will fund a further 25,000 sight restoring surgeries in Bihar – but for us that’s not enough – together with AJEH we are part of a visionary programme that plans to eliminate the back log of curable blindness in Bihar.

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CALABAR

Nigeria has only 4 charitable eye hospitals. These lack of services combined with extreme levels of poverty mean the majority of rural poor affected by blindness are frequently forced to remain blind or resort to unsafe treatment methods.

We work alongside the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation in the southern Nigerian state of Cross River where people are economically very poor and an estimated 40,000 are blind, mostly due to bilateral cataracts.

Our work identifies those in need through mobile eye screening camps and ensures transport to and from hospital is provided so that thousands of cataract surgeries can be performed, completely free of charge.

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In one day, a surgeon operated on 3 generations of the same family; a grandmother, her daughter and granddaughter. The grandmother had never seen her granddaughter before.

Col G R Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation

ASSAM

Our work in the North Eastern Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya, has a particular focus on outreach to some of the most remote and poorest village communities. The hilly subtropical terrain and lack of transport in these regions present big obstacles in ensuring access to eye care.

We partner with Mission for Vision to provide outreach vehicles, support training, deliver eye screening camps, increase hospital referrals and subsidise free eye surgeries.

Together our goal is to declare these remote villages, free from avoidable blindness.

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ODISHA

There are 560,000 blind people living in the Eastern India state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), 347,000 of which are blind from cataract.

Eye care services are sporadically distributed across the state, limiting peoples’ understanding of eye health and available treatment.

In our vision to eliminate curable blindness in rural areas, we have partnered with L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) to build The Arjun Waney Eye Centre. The centre focus is to reach 25,000 people annually through its state of the art outpatient department and surgical team.

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