Keeping Vision Alive Sightsavers Ending Avoidable Blindness

While philanthropy has become a trending thing for organizations, there are some like Sightsavers who are dedicated to the enrichment of the lives of m=not just those it operates on but the community within which they are based. Founded in 1950 by Sir John Wilson, who was blind himself, the foundation was first named the British Empire Society for the Blind. Before settling on its current name, the charity was for a while known as the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind. The name Sightsavers was received from an appeal that ran by the name in the 1980s when the Society assisted in the construction of an eye hospital after a disaster in Bhopal, India.


Medical surveys in West Africa resulted in the knowledge that a huge percentage of blindness was preventable. The biggest challenge facing those suffering from visual impairment and blindness was the lack of access to assistance. The first step was alleviating the economic burden that blindness had come with, with seminars and training the blind were integrated into their communities and taught skills to make them more self-sufficient. Sightsavers promote the spread of a drug that prevented the onset of onchocerciasis or river blindness, Lady Jean, wife of the founder is credited with the coining of this term.

To increase the spread of awareness and treatment, Sightsavers developed the Comprehensive Eye Services (CES), a concept that brought together screening, surgeries, treatment, and education. This was adapted around various regions, and it enhanced the impact the Society left on the ground. In an initiative aimed at ending avoidable blindness by the year 2020, Sightsavers has teamed up with various organizations including the World Health Organization for the project, Vision 2020. It might seem ambition, but with the improvement of access and knowledge, the Society is set to achieve its goal. Recently the Research Councils UK awarded Sightsavers the status of an Independent Research Organization. This means that the charity can now get funds and support from various councils such as the Medical Research Council, not only does this give it access to more resources it can stay at the frontline to ending preventable blindness.