Bringing eye health closer to communities builds trust

Portrait of a senior man, smiling at the camera
Written by Ashley Anderson Donate Today

Right across the street from a new Operation Eyesight-supported vision centre in Sahaspur, India is a small shop that sells a variety of items. The shop is run by a man named Sarjeet, who had been struggling with gradual vision loss for a year. Unable to read the currency notes given to him by his customers or the ones he gave them as change, Sarjeet’s struggled to balance his books and his business began to lose money. The situation grew even more dire when lockdowns swept across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As India gradually started to adapt to the pandemic and people settled in to the new normal, Sarjeet once again opened his shop. By this point, his vision had deteriorated so much that it was hard for him to even move around the shop or step out on the street. He became reliant on his son to help him run the shop.

Sarjeet smiles inside his shop

When the vision centre opened up across the street, Sarjeet was initially skeptical of approaching them. He had concerns about the quality of care that would be offered at this centre, because it was so far away from the nearest hospital. After talking with his neighbours, Sarjeet found out that the vision centre was actually an extension of the main hospital, and therefore followed all of the same quality and safety protocols. Reassured by this, he consulted the resident optometrist who diagnosed him with cataracts.

With the support of the staff at the vision centre and thanks the generosity of donors like you, he received sight-restoring cataract surgery. Now, he is able to manage his shop on his own and is no longer reliant on his son. Sarjeet is grateful to Operation Eyesight for helping him get back to his normal life, even if normalcy is looking a bit different these days.  

Sarjeet thanks Operation Eyesight’s donors for making his sight-restoring surgery possible

Unfortunately, India is currently going through a second, deadly wave of COVID-19. Businesses are once again being shut down. People like Sarjeet continue to need sight-restoring eye care, but several of our partner hospitals have been converted into COVID-19 care units and eye health care services are extremely limited or unavailable. The situation is overwhelming, and the hospitals need our support now so they can return to delivering eye health care services once the situation has improved.

Click here to learn more about our COVID-19 emergency response in India and how you can help.