Sightsavers is working to reduce the incidence of the two main causes of childhood blindness: cataract and corneal scarring caused by vitamin A deficiency. Working with local partners, we are actively taking the following steps:
- Training primary healthcare workers to identify and refer children for treatment, and supporting projects where school teachers are trained to carry out mass screenings for eye problems in schools.
- Training paediatric surgeons to operate on children. A child’s eye is not a mini version of an adult eye – it needs to be treated differently as it is still growing. In Uganda we supported the training of the country’s first paediatric eye surgeon.
- We also provide transport to the hospital, and follow up care for children who have undergone cataract surgery.
- Facilitating the distribution of vitamin A (through capsules).
- Raising health and nutrition awareness, to encourage a greater intake of vitamin A through diet.
Our work supporting screening in schools and training health workers also means we can identify and treat children who have other conditions, such as glaucoma, long and shortsightedness and low vision.