Keeping communities avoidable blindness-free long term

A senior woman, wearing eyeglasses, smiles at the camera
Written by Ashley Anderson, published on September 10, 2021 Sign up for eNews
Roopwati smiles after recovering from her sight-restoring cataract surgery.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roopwati noticed her vision was starting to diminish, but, like the rest of us, she was consumed by the impact of the pandemic. By the time her vision started to affect her daily life, strict lockdowns were in place across India. Although she worried about her failing vision, she was reassured because she knew that, when the lockdowns lifted, there was somewhere she could go for help.

Three years ago, community health workers from the nearby Moradabad Vision Centre conducted door-to-door eye screenings and delivered eye health education to Roopwati’s community. Her village of Daulari was even declared avoidable blindness-free in 2019. This means that every man, woman and child in the village had been screened for eye conditions and received treatment to correct avoidable blindness, such as a cataract surgery or a pair of prescription eyeglasses. In addition to counselling and referring community members for treatment, community health workers also created and built awareness about nearby vision centres and encouraged people to seek care when needed. Although Roopwati didn’t need eye health care at the time, she was empowered with the knowledge about the services available nearby.

Community health workers, like the woman in this picture, are a critical health resource for communities.

When restrictions were eased and it was safe to do so, she travelled to the vision centre. Doctors diagnosed her with cataracts and referred her to the hospital for care. She had cataract surgery in January 2021 and is now back to her daily life, enjoying the blessings her grandchildren bring and actively participating in her community.

With your ongoing support, we can ensure that eye health care services will be available to those who need it, when they need it. Donate today to help us ensure that communities will remain avoidable blindness-free for years to come.