Today is World Sight Day and The Foundation joins organisations worldwide in recognising the achievements that have been made in eliminating avoidable blindness.

Ever since Fred and Gabi founded The Foundation around their dinner table in Sydney 20 years ago, it has been focused on fixing eyes and restoring sight to end avoidable blindness.

Over the past five years alone, The Foundation has carried out nearly one million sight-restoring operations and treatments–approximately one every 2.6 minutes. It has also helped examine the eyes of more than 7.2 million people across the globe.

In the last 20 years, more than 220,000 Australians and 10,000 organisations have put their hands in their pockets and made a donation to support the blindness prevention programs that Fred Hollows (1929-93) began.

The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan says it’s been a remarkable journey, but there is still a long way to go.

“Fred’s goal, our goal is that no one–regardless of who they are, where they live or what they can afford–should go needlessly blind. That is the goal we are committed to achieving,” Brian Doolan says.

“We are working closely with our international partners and health ministries to achieve the goal of ending avoidable blindness by 2020.

“Via these international collaborations we are launching new initiatives for the global elimination of trachoma, improving our response to diabetic retinopathy, expanding support for institutions and professional associations that are training and developing a global eye health workforce.

“We are also investing in eye health technology that can deliver the highest quality of eye care to people everywhere.

“Tele-ophthalmology, e-medicine technologies delivering health services without regard for geographic isolation, low-cost eye imaging cameras that can be safely transported in canoes and 4WDs–these are the types of innovations The Foundation will support.

“Of course, we cannot eliminate avoidable blindness without the ongoing support of thousands of Australians. So on behalf of The Foundation and Hollows family thank you for helping us achieve our goals.”

Did you know that four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be? The leading cause of avoidable blindness is cataract, a condition that can be overcome with a simple operation that costs as little as $25 in some developing countries.

> Find out more about global efforts to end avoidable blindness by 2020 and support our work by giving someone the gift of sight.