The Organization for the Prevention of Blindness (OPC) has been saving sight for over 40 years! Founded by a group of health and development experts, we took our passionate belief that everyone has a right to sight and began making a difference in Francophone Africa.
While other nonprofit organizations focus their efforts broadly, we have our sights set on forgotten communities. Did you know that Africa carries a staggering 40% of the global burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a leading cause of blindness? Additionally, Francophone African countries receive significantly less government and charitable funding compared to their English-speaking counterparts. This is where we step in to bridge the gap.
Our impact, made possible by dedicated partners like you, can be highlighted by our expanding work in Chad – a landlocked country in Central Africa.
Last year, we achieved a remarkable feat – we saved the sight of 1,466 Chadians suffering from trachoma. This achievement only fuels our unwavering commitment to combating this devastating disease.
Trachoma is not just another eye infection. It is the leading cause of preventable infectious blindness worldwide, robbing one individual of their sight every 15 minutes. The worst part? Trachoma is entirely preventable, yet its consequences are irreversible.
In the late stages of trachoma, the eyelashes turn inward and painfully scratch the cornea. When we encounter individuals whose condition has reached this critical stage, we opt for surgical intervention as a life-changing measure.
Trichiasis surgery, one of the key areas we focus on in Chad, is a transformative procedure that eliminates the friction between the eyelashes and the eyeball. This not only can prevent or slow down the progression of corneal clouding, reducing discomfort and improving visual acuity, but it restores hope and brightness to the lives of those affected.
Our Big-Picture Impact
Our work extends well beyond surgeries. Our relentless pursuit to eliminate the last cases of trachoma trichiasis in Chad has spurred the Ministry of Health to establish comprehensive eye health programs. Together with 1,894 trainers and scouts, we expanded our reach across 11 districts in the past year alone.
During our trichiasis screening campaigns, implemented through door-to-door strategies, we made a concerning discovery: women are more affected by trichiasis than men, heightening the urgency of our mission.
However, amidst the challenges, there is hope. The majority of those identified with trachoma opted for surgery, while others found relief through eyelash waxing—a temporary solution that preserves their eyesight.
Looking ahead, we have plans for additional mass prescription drug distributions to treat NTDs, followed by impact surveys. These surveys will guide us in identifying districts that are ready to take the crucial leap towards eliminating trachoma once and for all.
Saving Eyesight takes a Village
We can’t do it alone. Saving eyesight takes a village—a community of compassionate donors, resolute partners, and resilient communities. It is through your generosity that we can make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by neglected tropical diseases.
Together, we are forging a path towards a future where trachoma becomes nothing more than a distant memory. A future where everyone, regardless of where they were born, can enjoy the precious gift of sight. Join us on this transformative journey and let’s create a world free from the shackles of trachoma—one saved sight at a time.