An estimated 1.4 million children in the world are blind. Three-quarters of them live in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa, most lacking access to treatment for often easily-treatable conditions. Half of all cases of refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) in the world remain undetected and untreated; this lack of treatment for these easily-correctable disorders is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in children.
This is why LCIF and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies (JJVCC) have collaborated to provide eye health education and eye care access to millions of children since 2002 through Sight for Kids, a school based program that mobilizes volunteers to provide eye health education, high quality vision screenings and referral access to professional eye care and treatment, including eyeglasses.
To date Sight for Kids has screened more than 20 million children for refractive error and other vision and eye health problems in select Asia cities, in Taiwan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines for refractive error and other vision problems.
Recently, LCIF and JJVCC announced plans to expand their Sight for Kids school-based vision screening partnership program to communities outside of Asia, to Kenya and Turkey, as well. These are the first two countries in Africa and Europe to receive Sight for Kids services. Combined, these two new projects are expected to reach more than 250,000 additional children in their first year alone.
A hands-on team effort, the screenings are coordinated by local Lions, JJVCC staff and local medical personnel and partners. By training more than 125,000 Lions volunteers and school teachers to screen children’s vision, Sight for Kids has been able to work with more than 35,000 schools to identify and correct visual errors in school children. Of the 20million children screened to date more than:
Since the program began, Johnson & Johnson has committed nearly US$3 million to fund Sight for Kids vision screenings in areas of need, including the new efforts in Kenya and Turkey.
“As our worldwide footprint grows, we know that the Sight for Kids model works and has made a significant impact on children in underserved communities,” said Robert Hollin, Worldwide President, Johnson & Johnson Medical Limited. “Many of these children see clearly for the first time, and in turn have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
On social media, share your support for #sightforkids and take the #eyepledge to raise awareness of the importance of an annual eye exam for all.
A young girl in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam celebrates her new eyeglasses. More than 131,000 children have received Sight for Kids vision screenings and access to professional eye care in Vietnam.
Local school children in Calicut, Kerala, India receive eyeglasses at a Sight for Kids vision screening. More than 8.3 million children have received vision screenings and referral care in India.
Lions Club members of Nairobi, Kenya assist in a school based vision screening. On World Sight Day 2014, LCIF and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care announced support of Sight for Kids Kenya and aim to serve 110,000 children in 2014-15.