Young girl from Ethiopia looks at the camera smiling. She has a noticeable misalignment in one of her eyes.

Liyat has a future of healthy vision ahead

From a young age, Liyat had trouble focusing her eyes. As her strabismus got worse, she became at risk of having life-long vision problems. But at a recent Orbis in-person training program, Liyat had her vision corrected – she now has a future of healthy sight ahead!

Shortly after Liyat was born, her mother noticed something concerning about her eyes.

Liyat had a condition known as strabismus, which causes the eyes to look in different directions when focusing. Like it did for Liyat, strabismus typically occurs in early childhood and, if not treated early on in life, it can have a permanent effect on a child’s vision – and even lead to blindness.

By age three, Liyat’s condition had worsened, and her strabismus became even more noticeable. Her concerned mother decided to bring Liyat to the hospital to have her eyes screened.

Doctors suggested Liyat wear glasses, which helped her for a short period of time … though they often broke. Her mother inquired about surgery to correct her strabismus, but local doctors had limited training and experience administering anaesthesia to young patients, so they were unwilling to perform the surgery.

Liyat’s mother even brought her to Addis Ababa, several hours away from their home, to seek better treatment … yet they were unsuccessful in finding the corrective surgery to help her.

A young female Orbis patient from Ethiopia smiles following strabismus (squint) surgery

Liyat awaits surgery to correct her strabismus.

But Liyat’s mother never gave up, so she was excited to learn about another chance to help her now 11-year-old daughter: an opportunity for Liyat’s eyes to be examined and corrected at Orbis’s recent training program at a local hospital near her home in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

At this program, the Orbis team worked alongside local providers to correct Liyat’s vision. Now, she has a future of healthy sight ahead!

Liyat’s parents were overjoyed by the outcome of her surgery, describing it as a “miracle.” Her mother shared her hope: “…for other parents to get the same opportunity who are struggling to get this kind of service for their children.”

And Liyat was thrilled to have her vision restored! She even surprised her friends when she no longer needed glasses. Liyat shared with us, “I have worn my eyeglasses for almost my entire life. And seeing me like this makes them happy, which made me happy!”

Liyat is excited to have a future of healthy sight!

Thanks to supporters like you, we can deliver sight-saving care to children like Liyat and provide important training to local eye care teams. Make a generous donation today and help save sight in the year ahead.

Preventing Blindness Through in-Person Training

Orbis works around the globe to provide sight-saving treatment to children and adults with a variety of eye conditions. And, at the same time, we also train local professionals to care for people in their communities long after our training programs are over.

Working with local hospital partners, our team of Volunteer Faculty members travel to countries like Ethiopia (where Liyat received quality care to correct her vision) to bring crucial in-person learning experiences to eye professionals in under-resourced communities.

The local teams gain critical skills for delivering eye care – skills that can be transferred to their colleagues and help improve the quality of care exponentially.

Fentaw Belaw, an anesthesiologist at Hawassa University in Ethiopia, attended his first in-person training program with Orbis and was inspired immensely.

With resource limitations in his home country, Fentaw was enthusiastic about learning new techniques through the highly detailed trainings offered by Orbis team members like Dr. Choyce, a long-time staff member and expert anesthesiologist. With training from Dr. Choyce, local anesthesiologists will have the experience they need to care for younger children – which means kids like Liyat can receive the sight-saving care they need without delay.

Because of Orbis’ in-person training programs, eye care professionals like Fentaw can gain the knowledge and confidence to provide quality eye care to their communities. And each training program makes a huge impact!

As Dr. Choyce notes, “The work of the hospital-based training is really fundamental to the skills exchange and the capacity building work that we do.”

Young girl talks to the doctors who will be treating her

Liyat meets with Dr. Choyce and local anesthesiologist Fentaw Belaw prior to surgery.

In the year ahead, the Orbis Ireland team will continue to deliver in-person training to eye professionals in Ethiopia world.

You Can Help Save Sight This Year

With many people in Ethiopia in need of sight-saving care, you can help advance our important work.

Please, consider making a special contribution today to support Orbis programs that help children like Liyat and train local eye care professionals like Fentaw. You’ll support our partnerships with local hospitals and ensure that we can continue to deliver the gift of sight to communities in southern Ethiopia!

Donate today!

Your gift can help deliver in-person programs to provide healthy vision for children like Liyat.

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