Eye Care Everywhere: Saving Sight Across Five Regions

We're continuously amazed at how the commitment of our generous supporters and local partners helps us ensure healthy vision for all — even now as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the places we work. Together, we're bringing eye care everywhere.

Seeing Endless Opportunities in Asia

When Rabi’s teacher would ask the smart 7-year-old boy to read or write in class, he’d start crying. She was confused and worried he would fall behind. Eventually, Rabi admitted he was feeling insecure and embarrassed at school because he was having trouble seeing.

It was teacher Bharati who encouraged student Rabi to attend an eye screening

Rabi is more confident now that he can see better

Thankfully, an Orbis vision screening camp came to his school in Nepal. During his vision check, Rabi was diagnosed with myopia, or near-sightedness, and received a pair of glasses. Wearing his new glasses, Rabi sees his world in a whole new way. Now, when his teacher calls on him in class, he proudly says, “I can do it!”

Had Rabi not received the care he needed, his condition could have prevented him from doing well in school and learning life skills—limiting his opportunities in the future. Rabi wants to be a teacher or a police officer when he’s older. With his vision corrected, his dreams are finally in reach!

Fighting Avoidable Blindness in Africa

Each year in Ethiopia, Orbis administers an antibiotic called Zithromax to help fight trachoma—a painful bacterial infection that can cause blindness. This annual distribution wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our wonderful supporters and volunteers.

One of those special volunteers, an Orbis-trained health extension worker named Bekelech, has devoted her life to fighting trachoma, working tirelessly to prevent avoidable blindness in Ethiopia.

Donate today to support the fight against trachoma and help us wipe out this terrible disease across Ethiopia.

Donate now

“Part of my job is to go to every home in the community to identify signs of trachoma,” she says. “I teach them that trachoma causes irreversible blindness if they do not seek treatment. I also remind families of the realities of being blind—that it can shackle them at home and make them dependent on others.”

Bekelech, a Health Extension Worker in Ethiopia, helps treat 7.5 million people in just a few weeks to prevent trachoma's spread.

Bekelech is helping her community fight blinding trachoma

Our most recent distribution began at the end of December last year and will continue into this year. No one understands the urgency of this work better than Belekech.

As she says: “Please, this work must continue. Trachoma is still prevalent in our region and needs attention. We promise that we will work hard on our side to fight avoidable blindness too.” We hope you’ll consider making a donation in 2022 so that Belekech can continue making a difference in so many lives!

Serving up Self-confidence in Latin America & the Caribbean

“I've always struggled with my eye condition, to the point where I had a huge self-confidence issue,” says 23-year old Jovaney of Kingston, Jamaica. For most of his life, he suffered from a condition called strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes. His mother never pursued the surgery Jovaney needed simply because of a lack of information about the condition and how to treat it.

Thanks to our supporters, however, Jovaney was finally able to receive corrective surgery performed by veteran Orbis Volunteer Faculty, Dr. Rudy Wagner. Jovaney couldn’t be more thankful to the Orbis team who took such good care of him and transformed his vision.

“I'm just overwhelmed with so much happiness and so much appreciation,” Jovaney says. “To sacrifice their time to do something that will benefit someone else’s life—I think it’s just something wonderful and really is a testament to the fact that the world is a really good place and really good people exist.”

For the first time in his life, Jovaney finally knows what it feels like to be confident and optimistic about his future. “I've always wanted to work in television, but never really had the opportunity to do so because of my eye condition. I see this surgery allowing me to go much farther in terms of career prospects.”

Transforming the Landscape of Eye Care in Bangladesh

For decades, Orbis's Canadian donors and supporters have been instrumental in improving access to quality eye care across Bangladesh.

In December 2020, Orbis completed a milestone project that has transformed the landscape – and the future – of children’s eye health in the country. Launched in 2013 with support from the Donner Canadian Foundation, the National Childhood Blindness Project (NCBP) has created access to critical pediatric eye care services for more than 40 million children.

Along with dramatically improving pediatric eye care infrastructure nationwide, the NCBP trained nearly 6,300 eye care professionals and community health workers, empowering them with the knowledge and skills to treat millions of children and train Bangladesh’s next generation of eye care providers.

Over the course of this landmark project, the lives of more than one million children were changed forever through sight-saving surgery, medication to treat an eye disease, or a pair of glasses to correct blurry vision. And countless other families were empowered with knowledge about childhood eye diseases, the importance of proper eye care, and how to access treatment in their communities.

Over the last eight years, the NCBP has entirely reshaped Bangladesh’s eye health system by creating specialized child eye care centres in rural districts, developing national standards for pediatric eye care, and establishing a nationwide referral network so families living in even the poorest and most remote villages can access eye care for their children.

Below: Learn more about how Orbis's Canadian supporters are helping fight avoidable blindness in Bangladesh.

Leading the Way in the Virtual World

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges when it comes to delivering eye care in person. But it hasn’t slowed us down when it comes to equipping doctors with the skills necessary to save sight around the world. And that’s all thanks to our award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight.

Doctors like Dr. Nansalmaa Gungaanym in Mongolia have made great use of Cybersight to consult with surgeons on complex cases during the pandemic. Feeling appreciative of these virtual opportunities, she recently gave Cybersight a shout out!

“Surgery and management for pediatric glaucoma are not well-developed in our country, but (Orbis Volunteer Faculty) doctors could not come to Mongolia due to COVID-19,” she said. “Thanks to the video system for remote surgery, we successfully introduced and completed new surgical techniques. Since that time, we have been able to complete 14 surgeries. We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you for providing equipment, conducting remote training, and using advanced technology to improve our techniques during the pandemic."

Dr. Dan Neely, a veteran member of Orbis's Volunteer Faculty, provided live mentorship through Cybersight to Dr. Nansalmaa while she performed surgery. “She watched videos of me doing the same surgery in advance, and I was able to watch her operate through a video feed from her microscope, and we could also talk to each other in real time,” Dr. Neely said.

Dr. Daniel Neely virtually mentors Dr. Nancy Nansalamaa in Mongolia from his house in the USA, using Cybersight

Dr. Dan Neely providing live mentorship to eye teams in Mongolia

With Dr. Neely practically in the room, Dr. Nansalmaa restored a child’s vision, and is now ready to help even more children and families. We continue to be amazed by these incredible doctors and by you—our supporters—for brightening the lives of so many!

Saving Sight In 2022

Millions of children are living with preventable blindness and vision loss around the world. At Orbis, we refuse to allow children, parents, and families who need our help to live a life of darkness—needlessly.

A grandfather in orange with his granddaughter, post surgery, in pink. She is wearing an eye patch

We've transformed Pinki's sight thanks to the kindness of our supporters

Despite all of the hard work from Orbis teams and partners, the pandemic has made it harder than ever for people to access the sight-saving care they need. And every day they wait is a day too long.

That’s why we’re working urgently to bring eye care everywhere. Your donating will help us deliver the gift of sight—and transform the lives of families around the world.

From all of us at Orbis, we wish you and your loved ones all the best in this new year ahead!

Donate Today

Help Orbis bring eye care everywhere in 2022!

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