Mectizan® tablets can prevent the disease spreading. They don't cure blindness, but can help to stop any further sight loss.
Mectizan®, donated by Merck Sharpe & Dohme, is distributed via local volunteers known as community-directed distributors.
River blindness is also addressed by eradicating the flies that carry the disease, a process that is known as vector control.
Traditionally, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis have been treated through individual treatment programmes. But because they are often detected in the same areas and can both be treated with Mectizan® tablets, Sightsavers treats both of the diseases together.
In 2016, Sightsavers helped to distribute almost 47 million treatments for river blindness. Since our work began 65 years ago, we’ve provided more than 389 million treatments worldwide to protect eyesight.