HopeCore Vision Project

Vision is the ability to see with a clear perception of detail, color and contrast and to distinguish objects visually. Like any other sense, vision tends to deteriorate naturally with age. In most cases, reduction in visual capability can be corrected with glasses, medicine, and surgery. At
Village HopeCore we started the Vision Project to help in those cases where an intervention could lead to an improvement in eyesight. Kathy, an individual donor, fundraiser, and volunteer, has been at the forefront in leading the charge for better eye care. She has donated thousands of reading glasses to members of the community. Kathy started the process of identifying groups of children from poor families with vision challenges and arranging clinics for them with the ophthalmologist in Chogoria and Kikuyu Hospital.

Figure 1 : Kathy guides a client through the Snellen Chart. The Snellen chart is used to measure visual acuity.

HopeCore launched the vision project in 2019 with a focus on children who are under 9 years old. This is because research has shown that many causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment are avoidable, being either preventable or treatable. Intervening early in a child’s life to prevent any visual impairment ensures that the child can develop properly, go through
education and participate in social life. This ensures that the children are less likely to face a lifetime of poverty, a challenge that faces most visually impaired children in developing countries like Kenya.

Tharaka Nithi county is faced with the problem of insufficient personnel with adequate knowledge to tackle the problem of significant refractive errors that are a major cause of visual impairment and blindness among younger populations, HopeCore’s Vision Project aims at combating this by having an ophthalmologists visit the HopeCore office clinic once per month
to attend to the booked patients. The teachers in schools identify the children with eye problems and refer them to the HopeCore clinical team for the initial screening. After the screening, the eligible child is then given an appointment to see the ophthalmologist in our office clinic.

Figure 2 : An Optician examines a student during one of the eye clinics at Village HopeCore Office Clinic in Chogoria, Kenya.

The first clinic we held at Chogoria Hospital where 27 clients were seen at Chogoria Hospital. Five of the clients were referred to Kikuyu Hospital. After this clinic, HopeCore partnered with the ophthalmologist to have the clinics at the HopeCore office Clinic. The first joint clinic was held in March at the office clinic where a total of 46 clients were seen. During this clinic, the ophthalmologist was able to see Collins Munene, a 7-year-old boy who had a history of chronic eye allergy. The mother of the boy had been blinded by the same condition. This is one of the cases the clinical team and the ophthalmologist has been able to identify through this program. Collins is currently under medication and his condition is improving. In May, the eye clinic was able to attract 69 clients who were all reviewed by the ophthalmologist, and one was referred to Kikuyu Hospital for further treatment. 61 of the patients were students from schools in Maara Sub-County. 6 of the clients were given glasses to improve their vision.

Figure 3 : The ophthalmologist guides a child through the Snellen chart.
Figure 4 : Tony Murithi, a Vision Project beneficiary after receiving his eye glasses.

Tony Murithi, a student from Gianchuku Secondary had been suffering from eye problems since last year May. His parents had taken him to various hospitals but the condition had not improved. The problem was especially significant as Tony could not read for more than thirty minutes. Eye discomfort would kick in after thirty minutes and he would be forced to stop. Tony’s mother, on a visit to the office clinic, heard about the vision project and booked him for the next clinic. The ophthalmologist, after
observation, assigned him eye glasses to correct the problem. Tony was very excited and grateful to Village HopeCore that he could now read for more than thirty minutes like the rest of his classmates. The Vision project would not be successful without the incredible support of Kathy. She has been distributing glasses to the people of Chogoria for a long while. She has been at the forefront of supporting the start of the Vision Project. She has been involved in fundraising to support the project. We are very grateful for the support she has been able to give.

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