Prevention

This African eye chart may look different from the one you see at your optometrist, but the purpose is the same.
This African eye chart may look different from the one you see at your optometrist, but the purpose is the same.

It may surprise you to learn that one of the biggest causes of blindness is due to “poor eye health-seeking behaviour.” This term refers to people who have eye problems but don’t seek medical attention.

Reasons for not seeking help include:

  • A lack of awareness that help is available
  • Superstitions or myths about eyes
  • Fear due to hearing stories about unfortunate treatment experiences
  • Inability to pay for care
  • Not being able to travel to a hospital or clinic
  • Gender inequality

We know education and awareness are needed to address these barriers. It should come as no surprise that prevention is an important aspect of our work. Screening for eye problems can ensure that they’ll be caught early, while simple supplementation with vitamin A can stop childhood blindness.

In 2015, we

  • screened 1.6 million people in India
  • screened 1.08 million people in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia
  • reached 5.4 million people with public awareness campaigns (including radio and public meetings)

We work to prevent eye problems through our innovative Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program. We train local community health workers to provide information about eye health and general health, and to go door-to-door to screen residents for eye problems. When they find someone with an eye problem, they refer the patient to the appropriate level of care, and ensure that she or he receives transportation, financial assistance or whatever is required to get the care they need.

Do you want to help us prevent avoidable blindness?

You can help by donating to eye care and outreach programs