Did you know that October is Blindness Awareness Month? This important occasion is meant to open more eyes to the impact of blindness on the world.
According to analysis found in a 2020 edition of the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal, it was estimated that over 49 million individuals around the world were blind. Additionally, over 221 million experience moderate visual impairment, and another nearly 34 million people experience severe impairment.
Blindness effects individuals of every race, ethnicity, and nationality. We all know at least one person who is visually impaired enough to need corrective lenses, surgery, or other treatments.
While blindness is a prevalent issue around the world, not everyone has equal access to quality healthcare that can prevent and treat blindness.
The Organization for the Prevention of Blindness (OPC) is dedicated to fighting blindness in Francophone Africa, which is too often overlooked by international development stakeholders. The truth is that far less foreign aid funding goes to French-speaking African countries as compared to English-speaking African countries.
How OPC is Helping During this Blindness Awareness Month
While we’re bringing special attention to our life-changing programs this October, we fight blindness every single day.
As a leader in eye health, the Organization for the Prevention of Blindness (OPC) is a trusted partner that works with Ministries of Health and country partners to ensure sustainable eye health care in the areas we serve. This makes our 3 main programs highly effective.
1. Comprehensive Eye Care
We provide comprehensive eye exams, diagnoses, and treatment for those experiencing vision challenges. Corrective measures include everything from glasses to pharmaceutical treatment, sight-saving surgery, or rehabilitation for those suffering from irreversible blindness and low vision.
We don’t stop at providing medical care, we also improve the existing health systems by training eye health professionals, educating and raising awareness about how to prevent eye diseases, and improving the area’s infrastructure and systems.
2. Foresight School Eye Health Program
We believe ALL children should have access to eye health care, especially when the solution is sometimes as simple as an exam and glasses.
That’s why we’ve developed #FORESIGHT, a program that aims to provide school children and their teachers with comprehensive eye care in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
Our #FORESIGHT aims to give teachers the tools to teach their students about eye health and perform basic vision tests. We also provide more advanced eye exams to children and staff at risk of ocular eye illness and refer children to ophthalmologists for treatment.
3. Neglected Tropical Diseases
While many in the west may not be familiar with the phrase, “neglected tropical diseases (NTDs),” they continue to be the leading cause of blindness in underdeveloped parts of the world.
We work every day to eliminate NTDs that can be treated through large-scale access to pharmaceutical treatment as well as training ophthalmic nurses in surgical procedures, educating communities about hygiene, and improving sanitary conditions.
How to Spread Awareness About Blindness Awareness Month
This month, please take action to raise awareness about blindness. We rely on advocates like you to spread awareness by simply sharing blogs like this that break down why we all need to engage during Blindness Awareness Month.
Even following, “liking,” or commenting on our Facebook posts helps our cause go further than it would without you.