From left, Professor Fred Hollows, patients Teklu Tesfamichael and Ahmed Umer and Eritrean doctor Desbele Ghebregiorghis during a press conference at the Prince of Wales Hospital (Sydney, NSW, Australia). Photo courtesy of Colin Townsend/Fairfaxphotos.
Visual impairment is the world’s largest unaddressed disability. This is shocking, because many of the common causes of visual impairment can be so easily – and inexpensively – fixed. There are 36 million people in the world who are blind, yet 4 out of every 5 cases of blindness is preventable or can be treated. Did you know that a simple pair of properly prescribed glasses can enable a child to remain in school and perform to the best of his or her ability? Or that a straightforward 20-minute cataract operation that costs as little as $25 can restore someone’s sight and enable them to return to work and earn a livelihood? Or that antibiotics can prevent the painful eye disease trachoma and contribute towards the restoration of independence?
The Fred Hollows Foundation is an Australian-grown, international development organization that works to eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide. Working to tackle some of the most common causes of avoidable blindness – namely cataract, trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and uncorrected refractive error – The Foundation has restored sight to over 2.5 million people since its establishment in 1992.
With the support of our donors and partners around the world, The Foundation has made a fundamental difference to individual lives and to entire communities. As our Founder, the late Professor Fred Hollows once said, “The most basic attribute of mankind is to look after one another”; and today, The Foundation carries on his vision and Aussie no-nonsense, can-do attitude to build up health systems from the ground level up in 25 countries around the world.
This October, The Fred Hollows Foundation would like to invite you to celebrate World Sight Day with us! World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, World Sight Day is being held on 8th October and the call to action is “Hope in Sight”.