Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, Global Director, Programmes

PEEK program ensures kids get the treatment they need


Zelma suffered from an eye disease called vernal kerato-conjunctivitis.

Zelma suffered from an eye disease called vernal kerato-conjunctivitis.

Ten-year-old Zelma from Kenya is the youngest of seven children. Four years ago, she started experiencing eye problems. Her eyes burned and itched, and her eyelids started to grow heavy. Her mother, Berth, took her to a local hospital where she was treated for eye allergies.

But sadly, Zelma never received further treatment. Her eye problems persisted and became even worse during the dry seasons. Her discomfort grew further when small growths began developing in her eyes. Would the pain ever go away? Would the condition cause her to go blind?

Fortunately, Zelma’s school, Kolongolo Primary School, is within the service area of Operation Eyesight’s PEEK pilot project. PEEK, which stands for Portable Eye Examination Kit, is a smartphone app that teachers are using to test children’s vision and identify students with eye problems. The students’ results are then stored on the teacher’s phone and emailed to local eye doctors. (Click here to watch the app in action.)

Through the PEEK program, Zelma was identified during a class screening and referred to our partner Kitale Eye Unit for an eye exam. Two weeks before her appointment, her mother and teacher received a text message reminder from the clinic. Zelma’s teacher accompanied Zelma and Berth to the clinic to ensure they made the appointment.

Zelma’s eyes are examined by an ophthalmologist at Kitale Eye Unit.

Zelma’s eyes are examined by an ophthalmologist at Kitale Eye Unit.

After a thorough examination, Zelma was diagnosed and treated for vernal kerato-conjunctivitis, an allergic eye disease. The eye doctor stressed to Berth that it was important she bring Zelma back for a second appointment, otherwise, without further treatment, Zelma could lose her vision.

To preserve Zelma’s eyesight, the ophthalmologist had to scrape off the small growths in Zelma’s eyes. As a widow with seven children to care for, Berth was grateful that her daughter’s treatment had been provided free of charge.

Zelma and her mother were happy to hear that doctors could treat Zelma’s condition and preserve her vision.

Zelma and her mother were happy to hear that doctors could treat Zelma’s condition and preserve her vision.

After four agonizing years, Zelma had finally received the treatment she so desperately needed. Her vision had been saved, thanks to Operation Eyesight’s donors! Zelma is grateful that an eye screening program was held at her school, and she is happy to have healthy eyes again.

Sadly, there are more children like Zelma who struggle with eye health problems every day. But you can help! By supporting our school eye screening program, you can help ensure students like Zelma receive the eye care they need. Thank you for your support!

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