Operation Eyesight has been creating tremendous impact in children’s eye health in both Narok and Trans-Nzoia counties in Kenya. Since 2015, we’ve screened more than 254,000 children, and treated more than 7,700 of them for various eye problems.
In Narok county, we developed our innovative Child Eye Health Project, and in 2013 started partnering with Seeing is Believing (SiB). With SiB support, our Child Eye Health Project is bringing critical eye health care services to children through school screenings. In 2016, we screened 67,000 children, treating 3,000 of them for various eye health problems as part of this program.
For children like Simon, programs like this are a miracle. Simon lived most of his life without sight in his right eye. But when his left eye became infected, he faced total blindness. “When I lost my right eye, I kept going, but when the other one became infected, I thought I would go blind,” said the 10-year-old from Kenya’s Narok County.
Fortunately for Simon, he was screened through a community screening program, and diagnosed with trachoma, an infectious but treatable eye disease. Referred for surgery, Simon’s left eye was saved and he’s happy to be back in school. “I want to become a doctor so I can help my family like the doctors helped me!” he says.
Simon is one of many children our programs have helped, and our partners also include the Kitale Hospital Eye Unit in Trans-Nzoia County, where children are referred for further treatment. The eye unit treats problems like refractive error (the need for prescription eyeglasses), cataract and corneal scarring. To help screen children for eye health problems, we developed and scaled up the PEEK school screening program in Trans-Nzoia.
With support from SiB, PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit) is an application that allows teachers to use a mobile phone to screen students for vision problems. Working with SiB, we’ve implemented PEEK at the Kitale Hospital Eye Unit and two satellite clinics. All teachers received training, and in 2016, more than 40,000 students were screened across 70 schools. Nearly 870 students were treated for various eye health problems.