We know eye health affects nearly everyone at some point in our lives. Worldwide, there are currently 1.1 billion people living with vision impairment, and hundreds of millions more have ongoing eye care needs.
Improved eye health is essential to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG for short). That means eye health is critical to achieving goals related to poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, and decent work, in addition to overall health and wellbeing. A Lancet Commission Report released earlier this year noted that the economic impact of vision impairment is massive, with a current estimated productivity loss of $411 billion per year globally.
Native Americans disproportionately suffer from higher rates of preventable and treatable eye conditions. Poverty, geographic isolation, and finding culturally appropriate providers often prevent Indigenous communities from accessing the treatment they need.
Seva’s American Indian Sight Initiative exists to meet the eye care needs of the five million Indigenous people throughout the United States. We structure collaborative, locally-based partnerships with hospitals and clinics in and near Indigenous land to enable Native communities to access health and wellness services year-round.
We’re always on the hunt for the greatest eye care inventions. Last year, Seva announced a Call for Ideas to identify innovative technology-based solutions to improve eye care delivery. We wanted to give you the opportunity to check in on The University of Washington (UW) at Bothell that has been working on the development of an EYE Toolbox, a cloud-based package of software. It provides secure and effective training, helps coordinate electronic medical records, facilitates collaboration between eye clinics, and allows for remote treatment interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a strain on communities all around the world. Particularly in the Global South, many hospitals and patients have found their resources stretched thin while needs continue to rise. But as we like to say at Seva, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Our donors and partners stepped up to the plate to make sure that patients could still receive the vision care that they need, safely, even in these uncertain times.
Our eyes truly are miraculous organs. They help us see the world around us, with all its beauty and danger. Indeed, life becomes quite a bit more difficult for us when we lose our eyesight. That’s why it’s important for us to take care of our eyes!
This year, World Sight Day’s theme was “Love Your Eyes.” The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness is called on everyone to pledge to get an eye exam in honor of World Sight Day, which was October 14, 2021. Show love to your eyes by getting your vision tested!
Besides getting your eyes checked, here are a few more things you can do to protect your vision, courtesy of the National Institute of Health (NIH):
Since 2008, Seva Foundation, Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology, Aravind Eye Care System, and Ophthalmology Foundation (erstwhile ICO) have organized classroom workshops for more than 500 eye care providers, across 130 hospitals in 30 countries.
Last year we launched Eyexcel 2.0, a new-and-improved version of our “Excellence in Eye Care Training” program. Eyexcel has traditionally been an annual five-day immersion workshop designed for eye hospital trainers who teach ophthalmic support staff. Eyexcel 2.0 incorporates online components designed to supplement the in-person workshops and provides an even more in-depth social learning experience than before.
Earlier this year, one of our partners in Uttar Pradesh, India, came up with a unique way to provide eye care to their community safely during the pandemic. Over the course of two years, eye care workers from Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) hopped on motorbikes and provided eye care door-to-door!
We all want to leave a positive mark on humanity when our time here on Earth is over. I know that’s true of everyone reading this – that’s why you choose to support an organization like Seva! Now we’ve partnered with a company that makes it even easier for you to leave a bright, beautiful legacy of bringing sight to people in need.
COVID has made eye care outreach more challenging over the last year, but that didn’t stop Seva Nepal from coming up with creative solutions! This year, the Youth-Led Outreach Program at Seva Nepal (YLOP) wrote and illustrated a picture book to teach kids the importance of eye health. The next generation leading the future!