In the last week, CBM partner, The Sindh Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (SIOVS) in Hyderabad, Pakistan received the first shipment of eyeglasses and lenses.
A pair of glasses can be life-changing. Having them can improve educational outcomes, increase earnings and productivity and prevent road and workplace accidents.
We all know the benefits of being able to see clearly to do everything that we need to do, and yet still, many of us fail to take proper care of our eyes. For some people, it is not simply neglect that prevents them from getting spectacles, but rather their cost and availability. Many people who live in lower-and middle-income countries face barriers such as location and economic hardship, to getting effective eye screening and treatment. For some communities, there is also a stigma associated with wearing glasses.
The Power of Collaboration
In the last week, CBM partner, The Sindh Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (SIOVS) in Hyderabad, Pakistan received the first shipment of lenses. This donation of vital supplies was made by Essilor, a leader in ophthalmic lenses, and supplied through The Vision Catalyst Fund, which provides access to vision at scale by supporting government-driven health systems and eye care facilities.
In total, the donation to Pakistan will consist of 25,500 reading glasses and 2,110 pairs of lenses and the three-year programme will see further deliveries to other eye health centres in Pakistan. This will mean that 60,000 people, many of whom have been excluded from eye care provision until now, will benefit. CBM partners in six further countries will also benefit from the lens donation programme in the near future, with another shipment on its way to Niger already.
What we want to achieve
The hope is that as a result of this CBM driven project, thousands of people who were struggling with vision problems will now have greater access to education and employment. In addition, the aim is to make more people aware of the benefits of using glasses. In Pakistan, more than 40% of the population needs correction for Presbyopia (the progressive loss of near focusing ability of the eye due to aging).
This endeavour will ensure that people from the most marginalised groups, including persons with disabilities, women and children and people living in poverty will be prioritised for screening and free glasses.
“If we are to meet our goal of ensuring that everyone has effective, inclusive, sustainable eye care working in collaboration is essential. This project, overseen by CBM, supported by our partners Essilor and The Vision Catalyst Fund and implemented by SIOVS, is an example of such collaboration in action. It has the potential to change so many lives in Pakistan and elsewhere," Dr Babar Qureshi- Director of the Inclusive Eye Health Initiative at CBM