Vision Guardian Program
The Vision Guardian program is ReSight's flagship program. ReSight is transforming people - with a focus predominantly on women - who were previously vision impaired themselves into vision ambassadors for their community. They are now vision guardians, or previously vision impaired patients who were trained and paid to educate and screen their community for vision ailments.
Visual Impairment (VI) is a major public health problem worldwide with the number of people over 161 million. India is home to 21.9 million disabled people and VI accounts for 48.5% of all the disabilities. Both worldwide and in India, this number is on the rise. However, 80% of all visual impairments are preventable and treatable.
The majority of those with preventable and treatable blindness do not avail eye care services for various reasons. Quality eye care facilities are not available within an accessible distance to a majority of people living in the rural areas. Secondly, there is widespread lack of awareness about modern facilities together with misconceptions about eye care procedures. Thirdly, the cost of treatment is unaffordable to many people. A community reach model is necessary to effectively address the challenge created by these impediments.
The Vision Guardian is the foundation of an effective community outreach model. In the pyramid of care available in the developing world (toggle text around image of pyramid care), some of the cities have primary care centers, some of the larger villages then have smaller service centers, and often the smaller villages are neglected, perhaps having a one person clinic. ReSight's Vision Guardians establish another layer on the pyramid, allowing the distribution of health care to have greater reach.
For any community eye care model, community participation is vital to achieve sustainability and reach. A Vision Guardian is a local village person who was successfully treated at a vision care facility within our network of partner hospitals and is willing-as a job-to help others from their area who may need professional eye care. Each Vision Guardian caters to a population of 2-3 villages comprising approximately 5000 people.
The Vision Guardian Job
Vision Guardians are trained to create awareness about eye diseases, to screen common eye ailments in their villages, sensitize the community to the problems of the visually challenged, act as diabetes and hypertension educators, and help in the follow up of those who they identify as potentially visually impaired.
The Sight Restoration program is ReSight's way of directly combating the vision ailments themselves. We have established relationships with vision hospitals in various countries that have also made it their mission to provide treatment to the most underprivileged. ReSight, through donations and volunteers, provides support such that some surgeries and treatments are able to be done for no cost to the patient.
There are over 50 million people for whom all that is necessary to restore vision is a pair of prescription glasses or treatment that costs less than $100. For others, surgeries or more extensive treatments are necessary. It is not a matter of availability of treatment, but rather access to it and ability to afford it.
Through partnerships with various hospitals throughout the world, ReSight is able to directly fund treatments and surgeries for a variety of ailments. Depending on the location and treatment, a different amount will be necessary. However, a donation of as little as $100 can provide prescription glasses to five people or a cataract surgery to 2 people.
To donate directly to the Sight Restoration Program, click the "Donate Now" link at the top of the page. If you have a preference on the type of treatment you want your funds to go towards, please include that in your comments.
If you would like to sponsor a fundraiser or auction for the Sight Restoration Program, we would love to help in any way we can. Send an email and we'll provide you with the materials necessary so you can become a ReSight ambassador.