Childhood Blindness Project

A child in Romania has improved vision through the Childhood Blindness Project.One child goes blind every minute. Half-a-million children will have lost their sight by the end of the year. Tragically, the majority of these cases could be treated or prevented. In an effort to prevent this unnecessary suffering, in 2001 LCIF and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first-ever initiative to combat childhood blindness throughout the world.

Through a partnership on the Project for Elimination of Avoidable Childhood Blindness, 34 needs-based pediatric Lions eye care centers in countries around the globe have been established or strengthened. These centers are aimed especially at delivering preventative, therapeutic, and rehabilitative eye care services for 121 million children.

To help fund the Childhood Blindness project, LCIF has given SightFirst grants totaling close to US$7 million, divided among the six WHO regions where the eye centers are located. During recent evaluations, each country showed that it was significantly closer to achieving the goal of fighting avoidable childhood blindness. Due to this success, a second phase of the project will provide additional support to 10 of the centers and establish 16 new centers.

Some of our accomplishments:

  • Pediatric eye care teams have been trained in all six evaluated countries.
  • A low vision care room at the project hospital in Lithuania was opened in 2006.
  • A program was developed and implemented for identifying and treating low vision children in schools for the blind in Indonesia.
  • In Hanoi, Vietnam, 246 school teachers were trained in vision screening.
  • Nurses underwent training for pediatric ophthalmologic surgery in Egypt.

The centers not only provide crucial services to underserved children, but have also trained more than 40,000 eye care professionals on treatments from vision screenings to cataract surgeries. This helps ensure that eye care for children will become more prevalent and sustainable in the target countries.

Lions have been an active part of the Childhood Blindness Project’s planning process, attending meetings, evaluations and other planning activities. Lions were present at the Hong Kong Society for the Blind low vision training inauguration. The involvement of Local Lions has been an integral part of the support that LCIF has been able to provide.

Find out more about the problem of childhood blindness and how LCIF is addressing this issue.

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