Since 2013 SeeKenya has been sending teams of qualified optometrists, supported by other volunteers, from the UK to run ‘pop-up’ clinics in remote locations in northern Kenya. There are normally two trips per year, each lasting approximately two weeks and seeing around 1,200 people. This is a partnership with a local Christian organisation called Edfri International which is very well respected and networked across the communities we visit.
Through this work, the charity have drastically improved eyesight for so many and prevented blindness. They do this through:
Eye health screening
SeeKenya provide eye health screening along with a refractive eye test. The full eye tests provided by SeeKenya can also indicate other health related illnesses such as diabetes and HIV. Early detection of life threatening conditions save lives and ensure individuals continue providing for their families.
To those who need them, prescription glasses and ready readers are provided at no cost. SeeKenya has been given access to a dedicated ground floor space at Isiome Hope Centre where a lens glazing lab has been established. This enables single prescription glasses to be made up and issued within 1 hour of an eye test – compared to a one-month wait in the rest of Kenya.
Sunglasses are important as many of the health conditions seen are as a result of the environment. The sun and dust can cause allergies resulting in eye conditions that can lead to permanent damage to the eyes.
SeeKenya provides medication and eye drops for various conditions including infections, inflammation and glaucoma. Many of these treatments are for conditions such as vernal conjunctivitis. This can lead to keratoconus resulting in blindness due to scarring of the cornea. Where appropriate SeeKenya also refer and pay for surgery.
By building relationships with local people SeeKenya are also helping educate communities about the importance of eye health especially in children. Poor eye sight, let alone blindness, impacts a child’s ability to read a chalkboard or book and, therefore, has a huge impact on their education, career prospects and in fact survival.