It's a record: more than 1 million eye operations and treatments in one year!
In 2016, The Fred Hollows Foundation achieved record-breaking results.
With the help of our partners, we performed 1,004,975 eye operations and treatments, trained 78,450 surgeons, nurses and health workers, advocated to local and national governments and equipped 120 medical facilities. We changed the lives of millions of people around the world, all thanks to generous support from people like you.
Watch the video, read the highlights, or download the 2016 Annual Report
to learn more about our impact in 2016.
Helping people see
Treating and preventing the main causes of avoidable blindness – including cataract, trachoma and diabetic retinopathy – remains at the core of what we do. There are 36 million people around the world who are blind, yet four out of five don’t need to be. We’re working tirelessly to change this. In some countries where we work, as little as $25 can restore sight and give someone the future they deserve.
A simple 15 minute operation was all it took to give Thol’s children their mother back. Thol was blind from cataracts for two years, unable to leave the small wooden platform that was her family’s home in northern Cambodia. Her children fended for themselves and survived by fishing and collecting rubbish on the streets. The Foundation supported Thol’s surgery at Oddar Meanchey Provincial Hospital. When her patches were removed she was overcome with joy as she caressed her baby son, Cheet. It was the first time she had seen him clearly. With her independence restored, Thol is now supporting her family by selling fish and frogs at the local market. “My big wish was for my children to be able to go to school,” Thol said. Now her dream has become reality.
Investing in people
We know that teaching the teachers first is the best way to create sustainable change. That’s why we’re empowering local people to identify, refer and treat eye disease in more than 25 countries around the world. With the help of our partners, we’ve trained thousands of surgeons, nurses, community health workers and teachers.
"I get emotional when I see parents weeping at the mention of their children being blind due to cataracts,” said Mercy Mbayi. Mercy works as a nurse at the Sabatia Eye Hospital in Kenya, where staff restore sight to more than 100 people a week. As a mother of six, she can empathise with their situation and often carries children in her arms to and from the theatre while reassuring anxious parents. Mercy regularly travels hundreds of kilometres as part of the hospital’s community outreach screening team which identifies and refers patients for treatment. She also trains Ophthalmic Nurse Assistant students who are supported by The Fred Hollows Foundation during their three month placement at the hospital. Mercy’s passion for her work is evident in everything she does. “It brings me joy when I see children receive their sight back. It is definitely a new beginning for the family and the entire community. It’s hard to explain how wonderful that is to watch.”
Equipment and Technology
Fred Hollows believed in giving people independence by providing them with the tools they needed to get the job done. The Foundation is continuing this philosophy by building and equipping medical facilities around the world. From outreach screening units and community health centres, to regional hospitals and national training facilities, we’re providing the technology needed to deliver high-quality eye care.
By equipping our partner hospitals with the latest technology, we can deliver high-quality eye care to people like Faith from the remote Trans Mara region in Kenya. Faith was born blind from cataracts. Abandoned by her parents, she was taken in by her Aunt Helen, who, despite having five children of her own, was determined to give Faith a better life. “I would sell all my cows, everything we have, to give her sight,” she said. Helen’s determination paid off and Faith’s cataracts were removed at Sabatia Eye Hospital by Dr Ollando, an ophthalmologist trained by The Foundation. Since her surgery, Faith has transformed from a young girl who used to hide her face in the folds of her aunt’s skirt, to a boisterous and playful three-year-old with a bright future ahead of her. Every day she used to ask her Aunt Helen, “Can I go to school today?” Now, with her sight restored, she can.
Indigenous Australia Program
Our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is grounded in Fred’s deep respect for their right to good health. We are determined to Close the Gap on Indigenous health. By working with partners, we’re providing culturally appropriate services to people in remote and underserviced areas.
Tracey Howard was a young woman when she had her eyes examined by Fred Hollows in Broome, Western Australia, in the late 1970s. Fred’s visit was one of 465 that he and his team made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program, a three-year crusade to treat trachoma in Australia. While Tracey, now 73, had no idea who the doctor was, she was surprised to see him on television a few years later. “I didn’t know much about him,” she said. “Then I heard he was the one who travelled the world and he became very well-known. I couldn’t believe he was the doctor man who checked our eyes.” Her encounter with Fred Hollows was the start of a long connection. Fast forward 40 years, and Tracey had a cataract removed this year, thanks to The Fred Hollows Foundation’s partnership with The Lions Eye Institute.