Young girl from Ethiopia looks at the camera smiling. She has a noticeable misalignment in one of her eyes.

Liyat has a future of healthy vision ahead

From a young age, Liyat had trouble focusing her eyes. As her strabismus got worse, the risk of life-long vision problems increased. But during a recent Orbis in-person training program in Ethiopia, Liyat had her vision corrected and now has a future of healthy sight ahead of her.

Shortly after Liyat was born, her mother noticed something concerning about her eyes.

Liyat had a condition known as strabismus, which causes the eyes to look in different directions when focusing. Like it did for Liyat, strabismus typically occurs in early childhood and, if not treated early on in life, it can have a permanent effect on a child’s vision – and even lead to blindness.

By age three, Liyat’s condition had worsened, and her strabismus became even more noticeable. Her concerned mother decided to bring Liyat to the local hospital to have her eyes checked.

Doctors suggested Liyat wear glasses, which helped her for a short period of time, but it wasn't a permanent solution. Her mother inquired about surgery to correct Liyat's strabismus, but local doctors had limited training and experience administering anesthesia to young patients, so they were unwilling to perform the surgery.

Liyat's mother even sought treatment for her daughter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city located several hours away from the family's home. Even still, they couldn't find the treatment Liyat needed.

A young female Orbis patient from Ethiopia smiles following strabismus (squint) surgery

Liyat awaits surgery to correct her strabismus.

But Liyat’s mother never gave up, so she was excited to learn about another chance to help her now 11-year-old daughter – an opportunity for Liyat’s eyes to be examined and corrected at Orbis’s recent training program at a local hospital near the family's home in Hawassa.

During this program, the Orbis team worked alongside local providers to correct Liyat’s vision. Now, she has a future of healthy sight ahead!

Liyat’s parents were overjoyed by the outcome of her surgery, describing it as a “miracle.” Her mother shared her happiness, as well as her hope “…for other parents to get the same opportunity who are struggling to get this kind of service for their children.”

And Liyat was thrilled to have her vision restored! She even surprised her friends when she no longer needed glasses. Liyat shared with us, “I have worn my eyeglasses for almost my entire life. And seeing me like this makes them happy, which made me happy!”

Liyat is excited to have a future of healthy sight!

Thanks to friends like you, we can deliver sight-saving care to children like Liyat and provide important training to local eye care teams. Make a generous donation today and help save sight in the year ahead.

Preventing Blindness Through in-Person Training

Orbis works around the globe to provide sight-saving treatment to children and adults with a variety of eye conditions. And, at the same time, we also train local eye care professionals to care for people in their communities long after our training programs are over.

Working with local hospital partners, our team of Volunteer Faculty members travel to countries like Ethiopia (where Liyat received quality care to correct her vision) to bring crucial in-person learning experiences to eye care professionals in under-resourced communities.

Not only do local eye care teams gain critical knowledge and skills, but they can then transfer what they've learned to their colleagues to help improve the quality of care exponentially.

Fentaw Belaw, an anesthesiologist at Hawassa University in Ethiopia, attended his first in-person training program with Orbis and was inspired immensely.

With resource limitations in his home country, Fentaw was enthusiastic about learning new techniques through the comprehensive trainings offered by Orbis team members like Dr. Andrew Choyce, a long-time staff member and expert anesthesiologist. With training from Dr. Choyce, local anesthesiologists will have the experience they need to care for younger patients – which means children like Liyat can receive the sight-saving care they need without delay.

Because of Orbis’s in-person training programs, eye care professionals like Fentaw can gain the knowledge and confidence to provide quality care to people in their communities. As Dr. Choyce notes, “The work of the hospital-based training is really fundamental to the skills exchange and the capacity building work that we do.”

Young girl talks to the doctors who will be treating her

Liyat meets with Dr. Choyce and local anesthesiologist Fentaw Belaw prior to surgery.

You Can Help Save Sight This Year

In the year ahead, the Orbis team will continue to deliver in-person training to eye care professionals around the world.

With millions of people in need of sight-saving care, you can help advance our important work in 2023.

Please consider donating today to support Orbis programs that help children like Liyat and train local eye care professionals like Fentaw. You’ll support our partnerships with local hospitals around the world and ensure that we can continue to deliver the gift of sight to communities that need it most.

Donate today!

Your gift can help deliver in-person training programs and provide healthy vision for children like Liyat.

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