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EYE HEALTH

How poor eyesight holds women and girls back

Tragically, 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be

In Summary

•The Fred Hollows Foundation is calling up on all women and girls to make it a priority to have their eyes examined, as early identification of potentially blinding eye conditions is key to ensuring one does not lose sight.

•World sight Day is an opportunity to discuss the impact of eye health on women and girls.

Globally, more than 20 million women are blind, accounting for 55 percent of the world’s blind.
Globally, more than 20 million women are blind, accounting for 55 percent of the world’s blind.

In Kenya, women are the backbone of the society. They are the heart of families and as more women enter the workforce, they become a major a driving force in our economic life.

Women are making big gains in education and employment.

Despite these gains, there is still much more to be done to ensure women can reach their full potential and make greater social and economic contributions.

As we celebrate World Sight Day on October 8, 2020, we single out visual impairment and poor eye health as one factor that hold women and girls back.

Globally, more than 20 million women are blind, accounting for 55 per cent of the world’s blind. A further 120 million women have vision impairment. Among the the reasons for this gender imbalance include poverty, cultural beliefs, discrimination and other barriers to accessing services

World sight Day is an opportunity to discuss the impact of eye health on women and girls.

Tragically, 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be, as there are cost effective measures like sight restoring cataract surgery.

At the same time, blindness due to trachoma or even diabetes complications can be prevented by change of behaviour and lifestyles.

When a family member becomes blind from cataract, it is often women and girls who are expected to leave their jobs or drop out of school to take on the responsibility of around-the-clock care.

The social economic benefits of sight restoration are immense and for a woman, it is like restoring sight to the whole nation.Studies done in Nakuru county few years back demonstrated improvement in quality of life among persons who had sight restoring cataract surgery.

This is because economic productivity after restoring sight improves by up to 30 per cent, besides ability to participate in social activities.

With support from Fred Hollows foundation economic studies in Kenya have demonstrated that for every US$1 invested in improving eye health, four times that amount can be generated in economic benefit.

The Fred Hollows Foundation, besides focussing on eye health in general is also focusing more efforts to improving access to eye health for women and girls around the world.

Among the strategies used, include supporting service delivery using mobile eye camps, training more female eye health workers and providing eye health education in places in women friendly gatherings. In all our projects, we have a special focus on women's access to eye health.

As we mark world sight day, The Fred Hollows Foundation is calling up on all women and girls to make it a priority to have their eyes examined, as early identification of potentially blinding eye conditions is key to ensuring one does not lose sight.