Gift of Sight: one year on

Halma’s Gift of Sight campaign has screened over 2,500 employees and raised funds for 8,000 eye surgeries in Ghana. A year on, a group of Halma volunteers travelled to Ghana to help teams perform a record 713 surgeries in one week.

 

 

It was a great pleasure and incredibly inspiring to travel with the Halma team to Ghana in October to help the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) and the Ghanaian surgeons perform 713 sight-saving surgeries at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital. This was a record number of surgeries for any outreach program in Ghana and supported the hospital’s celebration of World Sight Day.

We were able to see first-hand the impact Halma’s Gift of Sight campaign was having as we slowly removed bandages from patients’ eyes and helped check their vision – some of them seeing from one or both eyes for the first time in many years!

They talked about seeing their grandchildren, being able to work again, and not needing full-time care from a family member, allowing them to go to school or work. During the week, we helped the surgeons and nurses by completing forms and registering patients, applying dilation drops, helping the staff take measurements and record key statistics, preparing the patients for surgery and guiding them post-surgery. On the day after the surgery, we removed patches, provided eye drops and helped with the visual acuity testing. I was proud of how our team interacted with the patients, hearing their stories, making them comfortable and helping them through the surgical process from beginning to end.

gift of sight volunteer child patient

With hundreds of patients being treated, you can imagine how having the extra hands and someone to talk to and comfort the patients helped. Of course, the problem of preventable blindness is immense – as we set out at the very start of our campaign, and there is much still to do.

Of course, the challenge of preventable blindness is immense, as we set out at the very start of our campaign, and I understand we are contributing to helping solve only a small part of the problem.  But now I can say from personal experience, that every single outreach is hugely impactful to the hundreds of people whose sight is restored. This is not just life-changing for the patients, but for their families and their communities. We also felt the impact – from the eye screenings and fundraising in our offices around the world to the Halma volunteers who took part in the Cape Coast outreach, we are all inspired to do more.

Halma’s ophthalmic companies will continue to create technologies to tackle preventable and curable blindness, and grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. They will also continue to support HCP and further outreach programs with volunteers or equipment. Together with the work of the ophthalmic community, we will continue to tackle the problem, one diagnosis and one sight-saving surgery at a time.

By Adam Meyers, Executive Director

gift of sight dancing

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