DONATE

Sightsavers celebrates ‘Keep Sight’ this World Glaucoma Week

March 2020
An eye health worker stood infront of a Keep Sight banner holds an eye examining instrument to her eye.

This World Glaucoma Week Sightsavers is celebrating the launch of an ambitious partnership which tackles one of the world’s leading causes of blindness.

Glaucoma is often called ‘the silent thief of sight’ because it has no early symptoms and can slowly and painlessly cause permanent loss of vision before the patient is aware. An estimated 76 million people globally have glaucoma and approximately 4.5 million people are blind because of the condition. And these numbers are on the rise.

Aiming to tackle these issues is a global glaucoma initiative called Keep Sight, which sees Sightsavers working in partnership with Allergan and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The pilot began in October 2019 in India with Sightsavers’ local partner, Sankara Eye Hospital, and in Nigeria with an eye screening day at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

Although incurable, glaucoma can be controlled with medication or surgery, and eye screening is vital to catching the condition early on.

Sightsavers’ Global Technical Lead on Eye Health, Kolawole Ogundimu, said: “It is very apt that glaucoma is known as the ‘silent thief of sight’. It creeps up on people and catches them unawares because the symptoms are not easy to spot. By the time they realise they have the condition it is too late – they have lost their sight. And this is a blindness which cannot be corrected.

“This is especially true in areas of the world where there is not a strong eye health system which is why it is so exciting that we now have this bold new initiative to tackle it. Keep Sight will make a real difference to people living with glaucoma in places where the need is greatest, and it is great to be able to mark it this World Glaucoma Week.”

Keep Sight is the eye care industry’s first, multi-year initiative to tackle avoidable blindness from glaucoma in low and middle income countries with the highest unmet need. It aims to strengthen health systems by working with ministries of health to provide essential training for healthcare professionals to screen, diagnose and provide specialist care to those most at risk.

Thanks to Keep Sight, more than 8,000 people have already been screened for glaucoma since October 2019. It is anticipated that the initiative will expand to eventually screen 500,000 people in countries where glaucoma is a particular problem.

An ophthalmologist examines a woman's eyes through a machine.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused when pressure builds up inside the eye, leading to pressure that damages the optic nerve. If it’s not treated in time, it can cause blindness.

More about glaucoma

Read all our latest news stories

News from Sightsavers
A man stands for a portrait while holding a colourful dose pole.
sightsavers_news

How a simple tool could be used in response to COVID-19

This innovative tool, used in neglected tropical disease programmes, could be important in the response to COVID-19 in Africa.

July 2020
A girl raises her hand in class to answer a question.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers contributes to Global Education Monitoring Report

A Sightsavers report on education for children with visual impairments in sub-Saharan Africa has been published as a background paper to the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report.

July 2020
Fahad smiles while wearing sunglasses as he sits beside a colourful bush.
sightsavers_news

Play games and raise money for Sightsavers

A new free online games platform is celebrating its launch by supporting Sightsavers for a month.

July 2020

Learn about our work to save sight