The Foundation established by iconic Australian eye surgeon Professor Fred Hollows to continue his work to end avoidable blindness has announced record results at its Annual General Meeting in Sydney tonight.

Foundation CEO Brian Doolan said: “Working with our partners, The Fred Hollows Foundation performed 728,788 eye operations and treatments, more than ever before”.

The Foundation continued to grow in every area of its work last year, including the number of operations performed, the number of surgeons and health workers trained, the number of countries where we work and in support from the Australian public.

In 2014, The Foundation was supported by 125,000 Australian donors who contributed about $50 million to continue Fred’s work. The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs contributed a further 15 per cent to support The Foundation’s efforts.

Results in brief: 
  • More than seven million people across the world were treated with antibiotics for trachoma, an excruciatingly painful eye disease which can cause irreversible blindness;
  • More than 56,000 health care workers were trained, from highly-skilled ophthalmologists to community health workers who go door to door in villages, diagnosing people and helping them get to hospitals and clinics;
  • The Foundation performed 728,788 eye operations and treatments, more than ever before;
  • The number of people screened for the growing global epidemic of diabetic retinopathy quadrupled from just over 4,000 in 2013 to more than 16,000 in 2014;
  • The Foundation built, renovated or upgraded 36 medical facilities;
  • We delivered $3.8 million worth of medical equipment;
  • The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program provided services to more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

> Access the 2014 annual report here

"The Fred Hollows Foundation is extraordinarily active. Working in more than 25 countries, we have a huge reach which is touching the lives of millions of people around the world," Mr Doolan said.

"The results of 2014 would be a source of enormous pride to Fred Hollows and all Australians."

The record results come despite the Federal Government’s savage cuts to the Australian Aid Budget which have seen $2.4 million stripped from The Fred Hollows Foundation’s programs.

"The cuts to Australian Aid will make the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation harder in 2016," Mr Doolan said.

"These cuts mean that next year people who should have had their eyesight restored will remain blind.

"The Foundation is asking our generous donors to dig deep before the end of the financial year to help us overcome the aid cuts and continue to deliver life-changing treatment.

"Without the generous support of our donors we will be forced to abandon planned programs.

"Sir Michael Hirst, the President of the International Diabetes Foundation recently described The Foundation as 'indisputably a world leader in the prevention of blindness and the delivery of quality eye health, often in difficult or risky environments.'

"Thanks to the skilled work of our surgeons, and generosity of our supporters, we are able to restore the sight and transform the lives of millions of people living in some of the most remote and underserviced communities in the world."