Jana and her husband Abal, who couldn’t afford eye care, were both able to return to work in Bangladesh after having successful surgeries on their cataracts. Maneno Kasobi was falling behind his class at Nyitundo Primary School in Tanzania, until he was screened by a newly trained teacher and prescribed a pair of spectacles. Dr Niken Indah was able to open a paediatric centre at the Surabaya Community Eye Clinic in Indonesia, after completing her fellowship with the support of Seeing is Believing.
These are just a few of the millions of people we have helped over the past decade, as we tackle avoidable blindness and visual impairment across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Around 39 million people in the world today are blind, most of them living in the developing world. Yet, in eight out of ten cases, blindness can be prevented or treated with proven, cost effective interventions.
Since Seeing is Believing was launched in 2003, it has evolved from an initiative by Standard Chartered Bank staff to pay for cataract operations into a project which helps prevent, treat and cure blindness across the globe, partnering with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and leading international eye-care non-governmental organisations to improve access to eye-care in communities where help is most needed.
As of December 2014, we have raised more than $79 million, reached more than 65 million people, funded 3.4 million cataract operations, trained more than 161,000 health workers, supported 98 eye health projects, and distributed 712,000 pairs of spectacles.
But now we’re doing even more. In 2013, we launched an Innovation Fund, designed to uncover and promote pioneering solutions to tackling blindness. This is enabling us to support new ideas such as using pain-free laser treatment to treat glaucoma, developing an online portal to deliver training to remote areas, and piloting a revolutionary approach to school screening in Africa.
Since 2003, we’ve played a prominent role in preventing 100 million people from going blind, and now we are working in collaboration with the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, the World Health Organisation and other partners to reduce the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25 per cent by 2019.
We are proud to have changed the lives of millions of people, and with your support, we will continue to do everything we can to eradicate avoidable blindness.