Avoidable Blindness: A Global Issue
There are an estimated 253 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, but most don’t have to be. Shockingly, 75% of these people suffer from conditions that are treatable, curable, or entirely preventable.
The problem is that nearly 90% of those suffering from blindness or visual impairment live in low- or middle-income countries where access to skilled eye doctors, quality hospitals, adequate resources, or even basic medical care is extremely limited or non-existent.
This issue is especially acute for women and girls who also face traditional or religious gender-related barriers to accessing eye care that men simply do not. Women account for 55% of all people who are visually impaired, and two out of three children who are blind are girls.
While Orbis, and the rest of the global health and development community, have made tremendous strides in the fight to end avoidable blindness, the situation remains critical.
Without increased funding, improved access to quality eye care services, and a greater number of trained eye care professionals in resource-poor countries, global avoidable blindness is expected to triple by 2050.
Thursday, October 10 is World Sight Day, an annual international day of advocacy and communications to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. Created by The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), this year’s global theme is Vision First!
While great strides have been made in the fight to end avoidable blindness, the situation remains critical. Without increased funding, improved access to quality eye care, and more trained eye health workers in low-income countries, global blindness is expected to triple by 2050.
That’s why World Sight Day is so critical – it’s a day to draw attention to Orbis and raise funds to support our sight-saving work around the world. With your support, we can reverse this alarming trend.
This Tuesday, December 3rd is Giving Tuesday. It is a global movement of giving that takes place each year after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, bringing charities, companies and individuals together to raise awareness and funds for their favourite causes. It's called the “Opening day of the giving season,” uniting Canadians and those around the world to show small acts of kindness and empower us all to share our capacity to care.
Orbis is building on the momentum created from World Sight Day, because we believe that every day should be World Sight Day. With global avoidable blindness expected to triple by 2050, one day, even one month, is not enough to fix the problem. That’s why your support is so critical – together, we can stop the rising trend and change the way the world sees.
Orbis: Changing The Way The World Sees
For nearly 40 years, Orbis has been a global leader and innovator, transforming lives through the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness. Using our comprehensive, multi-faceted approach and a unique set of tools and resources, we equip low- and middle-income countries with the knowledge, skills and expertise to deliver high-quality eye care to their own people, now and for the future.
In collaboration with our global network of local partners, including hospitals, community groups, universities, government agencies, ministries of health, and like-minded NGOs, we create long-term, sustainable eye care solutions by providing hands-on, simulation, and distance ophthalmology training; strengthening healthcare infrastructure; and advocating to make eye health a global priority.
Our Global Impact
In 2018 alone, we achieved the following clinical and training results at our partner institutions and onboard our Flying Eye Hospital:
- 63,063 trainings were completed by doctors, nurses, and other frontline eye health workers and community volunteers
- 4,847,084 eye screenings and examinations were conducted
- 78,195 eye surgeries/laser treatments were performed
- 8,364,482 doses of Zithromax/Tetracycline were distributed
- 395,611 pairs of eyeglasses were prescribed
Through our long-term in-country programs, our hospital-based training projects, on board our incredible Flying Eye Hospital, or virtually through our Cybersight telemedicine platform, we continue to be one of the most effective non-profit organizations working to fight avoidable blindness, restore vision and help ensure no one loses their sight to a preventable, treatable disease.
In addition, our gender-focused eye care projects not only provide women and girls with increased access to high-quality eye care, but also create training and employment opportunities, and empower women to play a critical role in eye health in their communities.