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.

Please make a tax-deductible donation by December 31 to ensure sight-saving care can continue uninterrupted next year.

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“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 trachoma, which can cause blindness

This year’s mass drug administration activities are underway, with plans to reach a total of 13 million people with trachoma-fighting antibiotics by the end of December. No one understands the urgency of this work better than Bekelech.

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 tax-deductible donation by December 31 so that Bekelech 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.” —Jovaney

Loving Our Eyes in the U.S.

Taking care of your eyes will ensure you don't miss any of life's important moments — from the big celebrations like birthdays and graduations to the small, everyday victories at school, work, and at home with our loved ones. That's why we're encouraging everyone to get their eyes checked. You may have already seen our PSA — if not, check it out below.

Our Public Service Announcement shows the importance of getting your eyes checked

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!

Dr. Nansalmaa Gungaanym, Mongolia

Dr. Nansalmaa Gungaanym live with Volunteer Faculty Dr. Dan Neely on Cybersight

“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 the Orbis 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 This Holiday Season

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 tax-deductible gift 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 a healthy and happy new year!

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