Getting urgently needed vision care to kids like Erekik

Around the globe, children have been waiting for sight-saving care—but the pandemic has blocked eye teams from acquiring the skills they need to treat them. Now, our COVID Vision Recovery Fund is speeding efforts to train eye teams and get vision care to people worldwide.

For many pediatric conditions, the window to act closes quickly! That was the case for little Erekik, who was born with strabismus, a condition that caused her eyes to look in two different directions.

If her vision hadn’t been corrected quickly, Erekik’s brain might have learned to ignore the images seen by her weaker eye, leading to permanent vision loss.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case: Erekik received surgery by local doctors during an in-person Orbis training program in Ethiopia before the start of the pandemic.

Her sight was healed—thanks to the caring local doctors who performed her surgery and the Orbis Volunteer Faculty who traveled to Ethiopia with our Flying Eye Hospital to train those local staff.

But it’s these types of urgently needed programs that have been on hold since the pandemic began—and that’s why we are so excited to be able to conduct in-person trainings once more!

Training Eye Care Teams. Restoring Vision

Around the world, doctors, nurses, and other eye care professionals urgently need training to be able to care for the vision of people in their own countries.

Orbis was formed to fill that need: to provide training and support in countries where it is needed the most. And we do so with the help of a global volunteer force of over 400 ophthalmologists, nurses, anesthesiologists, and biomedical engineers.

Over the last few years, our ongoing and on-demand virtual training programs have stepped up to fill the need during the height of the pandemic. But now, we’re thrilled to also be resuming our in-person training programs in local hospitals.

In fact, two members of Orbis’s Volunteer Faculty—Dr. Daniel Neely and Dr. Andrew Choyce—are traveling to Ethiopia right now to train doctors in a local hospital to treat strabismus, the same condition that afflicted Erekik.

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