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Child Eye Health

Visual impairment - if not detected, treated or corrected - among children can severely hinder their quality of life. One of our dreams is to ensure children have access to eye health services for generations to come.
Young child in Tanzania who has recovered his vision after cataract surgery

From the moment a child wakes up in the morning until he/she goes to sleep at night – he/she uses his/her eyes. Unfortunately, many children worldwide are not able to read what is on a blackboard, their school books, or walk to school on their own due to vision impairment. If left uncorrected, vision impairment can have a life-long negative impact on a child’s education, social development, and opportunities in life.

Approximately 19 million children worldwide are visually impaired.  Furthermore, it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of children in developing countries die within 2 years of becoming blind.

Thankfully, there are proven solutions to address this challenge. The vast majority of vision problems can be prevented with a simple eye exam and a pair of glasses.

It is our greatest desire to ensure (as much as possible) that from birth, children with vision impairment can have access to professional eye care with referrals to rehabilitation services when necessary. 

Portrait of Wolfgnag

-Wolfgang Gindorfer
Director Uncorrected Refractive Errors, School Eye Health and Programme Development

Real change takes time. We want to ensure that in 10 to 20 years from now, children in need of eye care services will receive the help they need without barriers. To achieve this, we need to strengthen health systems and make sure quality child eye health services are readily available and affordable. In order to accomplish this, we envision a 9-year programme in 4 Sub-Saharan countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda beginning with a 12-month preparatory phase in 2019-2020.

The goal of the preparatory phase is to set the strongest possible foundation for a successful high impact programme. The aim is to make sure that relevant stakeholders are fully on board, crucial information is collected, and that national and international planning processes are conducted. A cross-country consolidation workshop will take place to design a common vision and strategic framework for all 4 countries as a basis for the future programme.

Early detection of visual impairment is crucial so that children may reach their full potential. This programme sets a major step towards our goal: to eliminate preventable blindness.

Light for the World would like to thank our supporters for helping us take a step forward toward this dream.