Beginning with the work of the late Fred Hollows in the 1980s, The Foundation has been instrumental in promoting eye care and modern cataract surgery throughout Eritrea.
The most notable achievements of The Foundation's work has been the establishment of the Fred Hollows IOL Laboratory in Asmara and the contribution to raising the priority of eye health care in Eritrea.
Since opening in 1994 the lab has sold more than 1.2 million lens for local and export use. Today it continues to produce high quality low cost IOLs which are exported worldwide. The laboratory is also now self-funded and managed by local staff. Within Eritrea six hospitals use the laboratory's IOLs.
Since 2003 The Foundation has supported ongoing training of eye health care staff in equipment maintenance, eye care services, sutureless small incision cataract surgery, program management and in-service training for ophthalmic nurses.
In 2005 The Foundation sponsored workshops that led to the completion of the National Five-Year Strategic Plan for Eye Care 2006 - 2010. The national plan provides the framework for a comprehensive approach to the country's eye care needs, facilitating the involvement of additional NGOs and providing a structured method to support the national public health system.
The Foundation has also facilitated the donation of nearly AU$58,000, from the Eritrean Development Foundation, the Rotary Foundation and the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club, for the provision of equipment which is used in eye clinics throughout Eritrea.
The Foundation has also provided funds for consumables and equipment to various hospitals and clinics throughout Eritrea.
In 2006 The Foundation funded the much needed upgrade of equipment in a number of rural eye hospitals, including the purchase of Yag Lasers. The Foundation also supplied consumables to rural eye hospitals, including intraocular lenses.
The Foundation supported the Vision 2020 national planning process and to the Blindness Prevention Secretariat, through the employment of an Administrative Officer.
The Foundation also began the funding of a Nepali opthalmologist to work in the eye hospital in Barentu. This ophthalmologist will conduct clinics, perform eye surgery and train eye health care staff.
In collaboration with the World Health Organization, The Foundation supported the National Trachoma Survey in Eritrea. The information that was collected will be used to initiate a National Trachoma Control Program in Eritrea.
The broad objectives of the research project was to determine the prevalence of active trachoma in children and blinding trachoma in adults, and to also determine the association between the prevalence and known risk factors.
Key findings show that trachoma is a major public health problem in Eritrea and that its prevalence varies in children and adults from region to region.
In 2006 approximately 160,000 intraocular lenses were sold by the laboratory in Asmara.