Most of the barriers facing blind people are within a stone’s throw from their front door.  Fear, poverty, and a lack of education don’t cause blindness but they certainly prevent people from accessing care when it’s available and free.

How do we ensure both availability (outreach programs)and acceptance (agreeing to the care they need) of eye care to those who need it most?

Outreach brings eye care personnel and education about prevention, treatment and cure to the front doors of those who need help. It can be transient through camps or permanent through Community Eye Centres. Community Eye Centres are located in remote areas, treat most conditions, and refer complex problems to a hospital

Outreach creates a community eye health system. It establishes a bridge from communities to hospitals and helps to guide people along the way.

woman getting screened at eye camp

© Ellen Crystal Photography

Screening is the process by which disease is identified in a population, using simple tests which can be applied rapidly and on a large number of people. Screening is an initial examination; actual diagnosis requires appropriate follow-up examination by trained eye care personnel. Screening can be done by non-medical personnel like teachers and eye health volunteers who receive a minimal amount of training on vision testing and are taught to refer every person who they think needs care – accepting that many people with healthy eyes are seen as well.

In a perfect world, screening for eye disease is built into the health system. Babies are checked when they are born, children are screened in schools and adults receive regular checkups from an eye care provider. In developing countries, little of this screening occurs and so eye disease remains under-diagnosed and untreated.

girl at screening camp

© Ellen Crystal Photography

Seva funds both outreach and screening in all of our programs; from school screening, to community screening by health volunteers, to eye camps, to the establishment of permanent Community Eye Centres in remote and rural areas. No single strategy works the same in every country or even within different regions of one country but we continue to test and evaluate different approaches to make the best use of all the eye care resources a country might have.

Together we can ensure eye care is available starting at everyone’s front door.

Penny Lyons

Executive Director


Read the full Spring 2017 Eye Contact Newsletter

Sight Stories and News

  • Eye Care Tips for Back to School

    As kids head back to school this fall, it crucial to remember one of their most important learning tools: their eyes!

    Blog | August 11th, 2017
  • Bringing Her World Into Focus

    7-year-old Lagima had problems with her vision and was unable to see the chalkboard at school. But with a new pair of prescription glasses provided by Seva donors, Lagima can succeed in school!

    Sight stories | August 11th, 2017
  • Global Blindness set to triple by 2050

    Research published in the Lancet Global Health predicts that without increased funding and access to eye care services, the number of people worldwide who are blind will rise from 36 million to 115 million by 2050.

    In the news | August 4th, 2017