Eye Care Everywhere: Back to School with Orbis

As many children return to school—virtually or in-person—we’re looking back at how Orbis supporters have helped transform eye care in classrooms around the world.

Seeing Success in Schools

For too many children around the world, lack of access to eye care affects not only their day-to-day learning, but also their ability to succeed in the future. Because many schools are ill-equipped to support students with impaired vision, children struggling with their sight are often asked to leave school, denying them an education and damaging their future prospects.

Because 75% of a child’s learning happens visually, children with impaired vision who are fortunate enough to stay in school are also at a significant disadvantage. They inevitably struggle and may never reach their full potential.

Orbis is working to create a world where this doesn’t happen—where no one suffers preventable blindness or vision impairment, especially children. That’s why Orbis is bringing eye care to a place that can make all the difference early in life: school!

Rabi’s Bright Future

A young Nepali boy named Rabi had been struggling to see in school. His teacher noticed that he would often cry when asked to read or write, and she was worried. He eventually admitted that he could only see things up close.

Rabi needed a vision screening—and thanks to Orbis supporters, he got one. The screening was offered through the Refractive Error Among Children (REACH) program, which brings eye care directly to children in schools.

Rabi was diagnosed with high myopia, or near-sightedness, and soon received his first pair of glasses. As a result, Rabi no longer struggles to read the blackboard in school, making learning much easier and more enjoyable.

“Whenever the teachers ask to read and write, I can do it.” —Rabi

Reaching for the Stars

In places like Rabi’s home country of Nepal, refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness often go undetected in children. Without treatment, these conditions can lead to permanent vision loss.

Through REACH, Orbis works with local partners to screen and treat school children—improving their chances of a brighter future. To ensure long-lasting success, REACH provides children with individual attention and follow-up, referring them to specialists if necessary and keeping an electronic record of their care.

Vision Ambassadors Lead the Way

In Eastern Nepal, many students have benefitted from the REACH program in their schools. To pay it forward and help other children access the eye care they need to succeed, some students have volunteered as vision ambassadors, like Priya and Priyanka.

School Eye Care Clubs

Orbis also trains teachers to tackle the spread of trachoma in schools. Trachoma is a painful bacterial infection that can cause blindness.

Since teachers are regularly observing students in the classroom, they are often the first line of defense when it comes to spotting signs of infection. These teachers are then able to refer students to care.

Back to School

At Orbis, we’re committed to ensuring all students can succeed in school, and see their futures clearly. Thanks to our supporters, we have been able to help children in classrooms around the world. We wish all students returning to school a happy and healthy year ahead!

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