Childhood Blindness Project
Children’s eyes are sensitive and easily susceptible to infection, injury and nutritional deficiencies. Blindness in children can be caused by a number of conditions, such as Vitamin-A deficiency, cataracts from rubella, corneal scarring from measles, and retinopathy of prematurity from premature birth. From the moment of birth, vision is critical to child development. Early detection of visual impairment and blindness is essential, yet many low income countries lack the necessary eye health services to diagnose and treat children with blindness or visual impairment.
Since 2001, LCIF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have partnered on a joint effort to combat avoidable childhood blindness throughout the world.
About the Project
Through a partnership on the Project for Elimination of Avoidable Childhood Blindness, 56 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 and have benefited more than 150 million children around the world.
LCIF has awarded nearly US$7 million in SightFirst grants to fund this initiative, which is focused on training primary eye care personnel, developing pediatric surgical teams, improving infrastructure and establishing low vision services. As a partner, the WHO oversees coordination of the project, as well as monitoring and evaluation activities.
- 152,000,000 children benefitted since the project began, through screening, prophylaxis, treatment and surgery
- 37,000,000 children reached through screening at the primary health care level
- 56,000 eye care and health care professionals trained
- 56 need-based model eye care centers established in 30 countries (46 reference centers and 10 satellite centers)
Vision for All
As one of the Foundation’s most notable programs, SightFirst funds efforts to fight the major causes of preventable and reversible blindness and provide services to persons who are blind or have a visual impairment. This is accomplished through the support of eye health care delivery systems, training and infrastructure development.