The goal of our Childhood Blindness Initiative is to reduce all forms of vision impairment for children around the world.
19 MILLION VISION IMPAIRED CHILDREN WORLDWIDE
In 2010, it is estimated that 12 million children had vision impaired due to refractive errors. It was also estimated that 1.4 million were irreversibly blind.
Childhood blindness is the second leading causes of blindness in the developing world.
The impact of childhood blindness
- The impact of blindness experienced by children is significant.
- Children live for approximately 40years longer without vision, compared adults.
- Childhood blindness impacts an individual, their family and the wider community.
- Childhood blindness limits education and employment opportunities resulting in the increased likelihood of poverty.
51% of childhood blindness in developing countries is avoidable.
Economic factors contribute to rates of childhood blindness. 27% of childhood blindness in developing countries is treatable. Childhood blindness conditions include strabismus, retinopathy of prematurity, retinoblastoma, congenital cataract, amblyopia and ptosis.
Paediatric Ophthalmologists focus on the development of the visual system and the various diseases that disrupt visual development in children.
Sight For All has trained Paediatric Fellows across five countries.
THE REACH OF OUR TRAINING, EQUIPMENT & SUPPORT
MYANMAR’S FIRST PAEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGIST
Leading the way in the establishment of paediatric ophthalmology services in Asia, Sight For All trained Myanmar’s first paediatric ophthalmologist, A/Prof Than Htun Aung through a 12-month fellowship at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide and in 2010 established the country’s first paediatric ophthalmology unit.
A/Prof Aung and his team now treat up to 28,000 children in Myanmar each year.
Sight For All trained Myanmar’s first children’s eye specialist, Dr Than Htun Aung, for 12 months in Adelaide.
Since Dr Aung’s return home in 2010, there has been a 12 times increase in the number of children’s eye surgeries performed in Myanmar.
UPGRADING EYE UNITS IN VIETNAM
In addition to these activities in Myanmar, in 2012, Sight For All upgraded the paediatric ophthalmology unit at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology in Hanoi, backgrounded by the training of three Vietnamese ophthalmologists in this sub-specialty area.
EXTENDING REACH TO CAMBODIA
The success in Vietnam led Sight For All’s paediatric ophthalmology team to train Drs Kheng and Solephy from the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Drs Sonchai and Phayvanh from the National Ophthalmology Centre in Lao, also providing clinical and surgical equipment to help establish the paediatric eye units.
In 2017, Dr Phayvanh from Lao, Dr Kheng from Cambodia and A/Prof Aung from Myanmar all returned to Australia for additional training.
TRAINING FELLOWS IN SRI LANKA
In 2011, Sight For All established a paediatric unit at the Sirimavo Bandaranayake Children’s Hospital in Kandy, Sri Lanka, headed by Dr Tavisha Udupihille who was trained at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.
In 2016, supported by the Australian Government, we upgraded the unit’s equipment.
Sight For All’s major event in Sydney in 2018 supported the establishment of a paediatric unit in Jaffna, located in northern Sri Lanka.
A new resource for parents
‘Open Your Eyes’ is a Sight For All initiative to provide general information about children’s eye health.