Screening is the first step to getting help for people who need it.
Surgeries restore vision and prevent vision loss, depending on the condition.
These boreholes brought
clean water to 26,250 people.
Training one person brings quality care to so many who need it.
These are the first villages declared avoidable blindness-free in Kenya. 3,203 people in these villages have been screened and given the resources they need to ensure their families will not suffer from avoidable blindness.
These vision centres bring quality eye health care closer to people who may not be able to travel to the nearest hospital.
We have programs in Bangladesh,
India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana,
Kenya, Liberia and Zambia.
When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Operation Eyesight acted quickly, working through our partnerships and our experience with community outreach to provide immediate support in the regions where we work. Through the generosity of our donors, we were able to keep our partner hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, allowing them to provide quality eye health care services. We brought clean water sources and infection prevention education to thousands of families, not only preventing the spread of COVID-19, but expanding on our efforts to educate communities about the importance of clean water and eye health. Our donors were part of a movement to respond to a global emergency with compassion and care, and they also helped to move our sight-saving programs to the next level.
Number of personal protective
equipment pieces provided
Number of community
health workers trained
Number of hygiene
Number of people who
received health education
Number of health education
Number of handwashing
Number of boreholes
Countries of intervention for our COVID-19 response were India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Zambia
We worked with our hospital and government partners to educate the communities we serve on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Community health workers went door to door to distribute personal protective equipment and education materials to ensure people had the information and supplies they needed to protect themselves, their families and their communities.
The availability of clean water is critical to avoiding the spread of COVID-19. We distributed water vessels to families in need, and we expanded on our existing programs to prevent the spread of blinding trachoma by rehabilitating far more boreholes than we had originally planned for the year, bringing clean water directly to communities where it was desperately needed.
We’re supporting our partner hospitals to ensure they have comprehensive infection prevention measures in place, allowing them to deliver quality eye health care services in a safe environment.
In addition to supporting our COVID-19 response, our donors funded some exciting achievements within our sight-saving programs. In October 2020, we celebrated this impact during World Sight Day by launching new program activities in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In India, we marked World Sight Day by inaugurating 13 vision centres across four states, bringing the total number of vision centres launched in India in 2020 to 17. Each of these vision centres serves a population of approximately 50,000 people and supports two female community health workers who live nearby. We also inaugurated a vision centre in Bangladesh.
Vision centres are permanent facilities that are established in strategic locations within a project area and staffed by trained eye health personnel. They act as a link between communities and our partner hospitals, providing eye exams, dispensing prescription eyeglasses and referring patients to the hospital for specialized treatment as needed. Through the establishment of vision centres, we have been able to empower communities to access quality, affordable eye care on a sustainable basis.
In Kenya and Ghana, we held eye screening camps on World Sight Day to raise awareness around eye health and identify eye conditions that have gone untreated. Following enhanced infection prevention measures and social distancing practices, these screening camps provided people with an opportunity to prioritize the eye health of themselves and their families. In 2020, we also established a vision centre in Ghana, and we supported our partner hospitals in Ghana by providing cataract kits to strengthen their capacity to conduct quality cataract surgeries.
When Blessing was four years old, she was playing near a pile of burning trash in her home village in Ghana when an explosion occurred. A piece of metal became embedded in her eye. Blessing was taken to a nearby hospital, where the doctor told her parents that she would lose her eye. They were overcome with grief for their daughter’s loss. “I wish this had happened to me and not my daughter,” her father said.
Although Blessing’s eye could not be saved, she still required surgery to remove the eye and avoid a life-threatening infection. Her parents struggled financially, and they knew they couldn’t afford the treatment, but they wouldn’t give up on their little girl. When they took her to a nearby hospital, she was referred to Watborg Eye Services, an Operation Eyesight partner, where most of the cost of her surgery was covered. Blessing’s wound has healed, and she has been fitted with a prosthetic eye. The generosity of our donors saved this little girl’s life
When Mohammad was two years old, his vision was poor, and his family was advised to take him for regular eye examinations to monitor his vision loss. But his family lived in a small village in India far from an eye hospital, and they weren’t able to travel to seek regular eye health care for him. His vision continued to worsen, which meant he was likely to struggle with learning when he became old enough to attend school.
Five years later, a vision centre was established close to Mohammad’s home. His father took him to the vision centre, where he was diagnosed with refractive error and given a pair of custom prescription eyeglasses. Thanks to our donors, Mohammad can see clearly and has the potential for a much brighter future.
At Operation Eyesight, we measure our success through the impact and effectiveness of our programs in the communities we serve. For three consecutive years, Charity Intelligence Canada has named us one of the Top 10 Impact Charities for our demonstrated impact per dollar donated. Of the more than 800 Canadian charities rated on the Charity Intelligence site, Operation Eyesight was among the top performers for measurable impact, and the only Calgary-based organization in the international category. Thank you for investing in Operation Eyesight and our vision to eliminate avoidable blindness.
Early in the year, our team mobilized to find solutions to the challenges the pandemic presented, working with our partners to reach out to the people we serve and ensure they had the education and supplies they needed to keep their families safe. This helped keep our partner hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, enabling them to prioritize eye health care. And we worked with them to streamline infection prevention and control measures, ensuring a safe environment for them to provide quality eye health care moving forward.
The lessons learned from this experience highlighted the importance of creating access. Lockdowns and travel restrictions made it even more difficult for people to get the urgent eye health care they required. This made it clear that we needed to find ways to meet this need at the community level. We knew that we needed to create access to vision centres in communities where people may be unable to travel the distance to a hospital. We saw the need to open up eye screening camps to provide an opportunity for people suffering from eye conditions to get immediate help. And we are working with our partners to develop technologies that will bring diagnostic capabilities right to the people who need them.
The challenges caused by COVID-19 are far from over, but this year has taught us what we need to move forward in this climate. We are grateful to our donors who are motivated by a belief that no one should have to live with vision loss because they don’t have access to affordable quality eye health care. We know that people who live in low- and middle-income countries have experienced the most severe consequences of the pandemic, and we can’t let COVID-19 keep people from getting the help they need.
On behalf of Operation Eyesight, thank you for the impact you’ve made through your ongoing support.
President and CEO
Former President and CEO
In 2020, we needed the support and dedication of our donors more than ever. Every dollar donated made an impact to empower communities and promote better eye health outcomes for vulnerable people, and we are very grateful to each of you. Thank you to our anonymous donors, people who have left gifts to us in their wills, and to our monthly donors. Your impact has made a mark this year, and we thank you for partnering with us – For All The World To See!
The work we do would not be possible without the commitment and investment of every single one of our donors at all levels. We are also grateful to those who have left a gift in their will to Operation Eyesight, to those who wish to remain anonymous, and to monthly donors.
Karen & Bill Barnett
Marty Cutler & Marilyn Minden
Agnes E. Hohn
Karen Booth & Jonathan Huyer
Lucy H. Koziol, in memory of
husband Dr. Jan K. Koziol
Alexander & Marlene Mackenzie
Elizabeth & John MacLeod
John W. Masters & Carol J.
Margaret & Paul O’Connor
Ralf & Helga Schmidtke
Reg & Julie Smith
Eric & Vizma Sprott
Audrey E. Wilson
Robert James Burns
Maamba Collieries Limited,
Meadowlark Resources Corp.
Port Royal Mills Ltd.
Vision Group Canada
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, partner for Standard Chartered
Bank’s Seeing is Believing program
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust*
*This project was supported by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a time-limited charitable foundation established in 2012 to mark and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In January 2020, the Trust successfully completed its programs and ceased operating as a grantmaking organization having achieved a significant, sustainable reduction in avoidable blindness across the Commonwealth and created and developed a cadre of remarkable young leaders in honour of Her Majesty The Queen.
Anonymous Fund at the
Christine A. Sethi-Van Impe
Dorothy May Kelly Fund at the
Dr. Charles and Margaret
Ethan and Joan Compton Sub
Fund at the Calgary Foundation
Frank J. Flaman Foundation
Freybe Family Foundation
Gulu Thadani Charitable
Jack and Doris Brown
Joseph Rauenhorst Family
K. C. Whalen Memorial Fund
Margaret Clementi Fund
Maunders McNeil Foundation
Estate of Maria C. Jonker Fund
Ted & Enid Jansen Fund at the
The Lawrason Foundation
The P & P Murray Foundation
Toronto Theosophical Society
The Zita and Mark Bernstein
Canada: 11906 8955 RR0001
United Kingdom: 1135169
United States: 20-2682468
* Our board of directors in Canada is led by Mr. Shaad Oosman, Chair. We also have active boards of directors in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana.