Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. I have seen people suffering from it in developing countries like Kenya and Zambia, where it is the most common and widespread eye health issue.
An agonizing disease borne of a lack of clean water and poor sanitation, trachoma causes permanent blindness if left untreated. The eyelid turns inward and the eyelashes rub against the eyeball, resulting in intense pain and scarring of the cornea. I’ve heard the pain described as, “Every time you blink, imagine your eyelashes scratching your eyeballs like a metal brush.”
Have a look at this short video of an elderly woman in Kenya’s Pokot district. As a patient, she is not uncommon, because women are three times more likely than men to suffer the late, blinding stage of trachoma called trichiasis. And like the child who leads her grandmother in these photos, children are often taken out of school to care for their relatives, increasing the impact of the disease.
This video shows a small part of a trachoma victim’s story. This disease can be treated by removing scar tissue on the eyelid, as you can see in the video, and it can be prevented through the SAFE strategy, which also improves the general health and prosperity of the whole community.
Operation Eyesight has followed this strategy by providing 51 waterpoints in Kenya’s Narok district, and is now working in Pokot to bring relief to the residents suffering in this district. Our donors’ support is making a difference in eliminating this agonizing disease!