Help newborns like Gabriel have a future of healthy sight

When a child is born prematurely, the blood vessels at the back of their eyes sometimes grow abnormally, permanently damaging the retina and causing vision loss or blindness.

Wonderful advances in treatment mean that more premature babies are being saved, but few hospitals have the skills and resources to provide the screening and treatment these babies need to grow up with healthy vision. And if skilled clinicians don’t intervene within weeks – sometimes days – of birth, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) can lead to a lifetime of blindness.

Thanks to generous friends like you, baby Gabriel will grow up able to see his mother and father’s face!

That means an infant like baby Gabriel might never see their parent’s face. Gabriel was born at 29 weeks in a rural hospital in Otuzco, Peru. Extremely premature, his doctor shared that around 70% of infants in Latin America born that early do not survive.

His mother recalled, We didn’t have any hopes. He was really tiny and very delicate… It was fear, it was sadness. It was feeling so empty.

Then, only 17 days after birth, as Gabriel fought to hang on, his parents got more bad news. The infant tested positive for ROP – and needed immediate care or he could go blind forever.

Thankfully, Gabriel received treatment at an Orbis partner hospital in Trujillo, Peru. His vision was saved because of friends like you.

Now five months old, little Gabriel’s mother shared: I think the eyes are the light of life. I see him having a bright future. It has to be a bright future because he has fought for his life.”

How You Can Help

The last thing a new parent should have to worry about in the days following birth is the threat of their precious newborn going blind…forever…without immediate care.

Babies who are born prematurely are at risk for a sight-stealing condition called retinopathy of prematurity (or ROP), which can cause permanent blindness.

But the good news is you can help. With the right awareness, knowledge, and equipment, ROP is entirely preventable.

Even better, your gift now will go twice as far, thanks to a matching challenge from longtime Orbis supporter, Mrs. Leslys Vedder!

I know you believe that no child should start out life blind from an avoidable cause.

Did you also know it can cost less than $5 to examine a premature infant for ROP – and less than $250 to provide sight-saving treatment to a newborn in need?

That’s why this matching gift opportunity from Mrs. Vedder is so impactful. By giving now, your gift will go twice as far in supporting ROP screenings for infants in Peru and around the world.

Mrs. Vedder – and her late husband, Dr. James Vedder – have a long history of partnering with Orbis to ensure children have access to the eye care they need. Today, she’s pledged to match all gifts, dollar-for-dollar, up to $103,140, to honor the memory of her husband.

Mrs. Leslys Vedder holding a certificate for her husband Jim.

Dr. Vedder lost an eye in a tragic childhood accident but had to wait until he was an adult to get a prosthetic replacement. His experience made the Vedders deeply committed to helping others – especially children. We’re so grateful that Mrs. Vedder has continued to honor her husband’s legacy by partnering with Orbis to make ROP screening and treatment possible in Peru by doubling your generous contribution today.

Remember: by restoring a child’s sight, you’re often giving them back decades-worth of healthy sight for the rest of their life.

With you on our side, Orbis’s eye care teams will deliver care to babies and children in need, saving them from a lifetime of preventable vision loss.

But please hurry. We must receive your gift by September 30 to ensure it goes twice as far to protect and restore children’s sight.


Together we’ll help protect and restore children’s vision globally!

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