Sightsavers are at the forefront of trying to eliminate blindness which can be prevented. The most preventable cause of blindness is Trachoma. It is caused by an infection in the eye from a bacteria named Chlamydia trachomatis. It is highly contagious and appears as inflammation on the inner surface of eyelids. This granular surface causes eyelashes to curve inward and cause significant pain. Eventually the scars cause blindness.
Adults and children use tweezers to pull out their eyelashes for temporary relief. Certain antibiotics can control the spread of bacteria in the infected eyes. However, the simplest prevention is good hygiene and sanitation with clean water. Often these are not available and people do not know about these strategies.
Sightsavers is about obtaining the resources to fund this massive effort to stop trachoma from stealing the lives of people living in poverty. This disease has been recorded in ancient Egyptian art. In the past it was more widespread. Today, more than 182 million people in the world’s most disadvantaged communities are still at risk of going blind from this eye disease.
Caroline Harper has been the Chief Executive at Sightsavers since 2005. Her primary emphasis has been to collaborate with governments, agencies, and local communities to educate the people and provide clean water and medication as needed.
Most recently, following a TED presentation by Caroline Harper, Sightsavers received a massive donation of £20 million funding from UK aid to boost trachoma elimination in 10 Commonwealth countries in Africa to stop trachoma related blindness.
Already, by 2017, five countries have ended the public health problem of trachoma. This has been verified by WHO, the World Health Organization. These countries are: Morocco, Oman, Mexico, Laos, and Cambodia. This makes it feasible for Sightsavers to proclaim their goal of destroying this disease.
Sightsavers are also advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. They serve many countries around the world with different programs appropriate for the region.
Sightsavers welcomes individuals, organizations, and special campaign volunteers because there is so much work that must be done. Donations are also appreciated.