About Eye Care Foundation
Eye Care Foundation was born out of the need to provide and establish good and affordable eye care in developing countries from the Netherlands.
Initially this happened mainly through sending ophthalmic teams. The support has shifted to aiding local capacity by facilitating training, improve the infrastructure by building eye clinics and donating ophthalmic equipment. We are working on sustainable eye care. The support of the Eye Care Foundation is focused on the poorest for whom good medical care is inaccessible or not affordable. The Eye Care Foundation has projects in the Himalayan region (Nepal), Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) and in Africa in Tanzania.
The support is most successful when networks of Eye Centres are built in the regions, with well-trained local staff, volunteers, appropriate equipment, and good housing. The goal is to strengthen those networks with the help of our project support. Over time, the networks should be able to support themselves, both financially and knowledge-wise. It is fundamental to integrate in local initiatives to ensure continuity and quality.
From the Netherlands and through field offices in Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia is general support and medical management directed to the project partners. Our main goal is that the local partners shall increasingly organise Eye care independently.
Eye Care Foundation was founded when Eyecare Worldwide and Mekong Eye Doctors joined forces in 2008. These two organisations had the same objectives and working together in the current foundation has proved to be more efficient and effective.
Eyecare Worldwide (1984) was founded by a Dutch ophthalmologist who was moved by the plight of so many people who were blind even though this could have been cured or even prevented. Mekong Eye Doctors (1993) was founded by a Dutch biochemist after he had been in Thailand to conduct eye research.
Number of ophthalmologists per million population
Education and training
Through financing ophthalmic training at all levels, local professionals can work in their own country to reduce avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The courses and programs are held in the country itself or in a neighbouring country. The goal is to structurally improve eye care in the projects. Building improvements from the bottom up, the project is then taken over by local people releasing the Eye Care Foundation to move on to new projects. Dutch ophthalmologists who volunteer in projects regularly give training to invited local ophthalmologists, who are trained to train other ophthalmic staff.
With the financial support of the Eye Care Foundation local medical teams provide eye camps in hard to reach areas, such as in the mountains of Nepal. In this way these temporary clinics can help as many people as possible with cataract surgery. This is for the locals often the only way to eye care.
Eye hospitals and equipment
The Eye Care Foundation finance the construction of ophthalmic centres – from village clinic to hospital – and provide all the equipment. Well trained staff can work independently and thus the population will get permanent access to good eye care.
Children are often unable to progress in school and get an education because they do not have glasses or they have glasses with the wrong prescription. The Eye Care Foundation therefore provides training for optometrists. There are village health workers and teachers trained in recognizing eye problems. If necessary there are glasses, made in the host country, provided free of charge.
Vision2020 & IAPB
Eye Care Foundation operates under the umbrella of Vision 2020. ‘Vision2020: The Right to Sight’ is the name of the global initiative to combat avoidable blindness and visual impairment. This initiative was launched in 1999 by the WHO (World Health Organization – WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), an umbrella organization of more than 20 international non-governmental organizations, an international coalition of professional organizations, professions, eye hospitals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies.
The aim of this initiative is to eliminate all cases of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by the year 2020, because everyone is entitled to good vision (source: Vision2020 Netherlands).The Eye Care Foundation has been an official member of the IAPB since 2015.
Avoid unnecessary blindness.
Give people a chance of a better life.
The Eye Care Foundation helps prevent and cure avoidable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries. 80% of blindness is simple to cure through cataract operations. Many visually impaired have been helped by good prescription glasses. It may be a simple solution, but it is impossible without the help of you as a donor.