Unfortunately, for many people who experience vision problems in under served communities, it is not as easy as walking into a local optometrist for an eye exam. Optometry simply did not exist as a profession in many developing countries until recently. Even today, in some countries, there are literally no local eye care professionals.
"Our vision centres are integrated into the community, and are part of a holistic approach to health - they are part of a development agenda - because it’s only through developing the capacity in each country that we will make a dent in the more than 600 million people who are blind or visually impaired simply because they don’t have a pair of glasses."Professor Brien Holden - Brien Holden Vision Institute
Thankfully, this is changing.
As well as supporting the training of local eye care professionals, Optometry Giving Sight funds the establishment of community-based vision centres and optical labs.
A vision centre is a place where people can receive an eye exam and, if needed, a pair of affordable glasses. They can also be referred for secondary treatment if they are found to have a more complicated condition.
Vision centres ensure access to a permanent, affordable and culturally appropriate facility for a local community. As with all projects that receive funding from Optometry Giving Sight, new vision centres are established with aims of becoming sustainable and financially independent over time.
As well as providing a place where people can access eye care, visions centres ensure that trained local eye care professionals can bring their new skills back to the local community. It gives them a local workplace, as well as ongoing training opportunities.
By donating to Optometry Giving Sight, you will be helping to establish vision centres and give communities access to eye care facilities where they have never existed before. A community based vision centre can see up to 3000 patients a year. Imagine the impact of a hundred vision centres, over ten years. That’s 3 million people with access to vision care.
Just USD$100 could help to equip a vision centre with basic low vision equipment. Low vision aids are needed when normal glasses are not enough to help someone see clearly. This could include devices such as telescopes and magnifiers or specially-made very strong spectacles.
Brien Holden Vision Institute is the implementing partner supported by Optometry Giving Sight.
Read on to learn about Delivering Eye Care Services.