BRINGING VISION TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES OF THE GLOBE
Our mission is simple and straight-forward:
Where there is surgically treatable blindness, we help restore sight.
This is achieved by providing financial support and surgical training in otherwise inaccessible, remote areas of the developing world. Our presence exists for the purpose of guiding and enabling locally-trained eye surgeons in developing nations, who then travel to remote areas to perform necessary sight-restoring surgeries.
Without World Sight's support, individuals in these communities would otherwise go without treatment, thereby becoming a cultural burden on their family and community. It is the unfortunate reality that within many cultures of the developing world, it is said that a blind person is more of a burden than one who is deceased. Not only is the family unit left with the responsibility of caring for the blind person, but the family and community often must take up the responsibility of either being the head-of-the-household or otherwise performing those chores formerly done by the blind person. The family income inadvertently suffers while individual responsibility increases. World Sight believes that if we can intervene surgically to cure blindness in the developing world one patient at a time, the combined economic impact will be dramatic. In providing sight to individuals left in the dark, we believe that they can remain productive members of society; they can return to their families and resume their productive lives, and so, too, can their families, thereby enhancing the economic impact of the entire community.
What Makes World Sight Different?
World Sight does not look for volunteers to help for relatively short time intervals, due to our goal of leaving a sustainable impact at each project site. We do not intend to leave eye surgeons and patients in the lurch when we are not present; this is the reason for involving local eye surgeons and volunteers, rather than international volunteers who would assist in running project sites temporarily rather than year-round. World Sight does not utilize its financial resources for developing brick-and-mortar facilities; we work with local surgeons at existing local sites to establish "pop-up" surgical centers and clinics during designated "eye camp weekends" monthly.
VISION IMPAIRMENT AROUND THE WORLD
180 million people worldwide are vision-impaired
90% of individuals afflicted with blindness live in developing countries
80% of visual impairments can be clinically prevented or surgically cured
VISION IMPAIRMENT IN AFRICA
90% of individuals afflicted with blindness reside in Sub-Saharan Africa, China, and the Indian subcontinent
50% of blindness in Africa is due to surgically-treatable cataracts, and 2.2 million is due to trachoma
Of the approximately 300,000 blind children in the region, 60-80% die within 1-2 years
Africa has 1 ophthalmologist per 1,000,000 people
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in the eye. This commonly occurs with age, both in the developed and developing world. Though most cataracts result from increasing age, other etiologies including glaucoma, trauma, and genetics play a role. If untreated, cataracts can lead to complete blindness, simply by creating a barrier to vision. The treatment of a cataract is surgical removal and replacement with a clear implant by an ophthalmologist.