Posts in Category: “Preventing Blindness”

Helen Keller International aims to prevent blindness around the world. 80% of all blindness is avoidable, with simple, proven solutions such as adequate vitamin A, low-cost surgeries, and annual doses of antibiotics.

Meeting My “Daughter” in Niger

An inside look into HKI's trachoma control activities in Niger and Mali.

Post by Emily Toubali, HKI’s Program Manager of Neglected Tropical Disease Control. Photos by Emily Toubali and Aryc Mosher.

Amina Nouhou lived for over 20 years with the searing pain of trichiasis, the final stage of the blinding disease of trachoma.  Each time she blinked, the eyelashes of her left eye scraped her cornea.  I cannot even begin to imagine the extreme discomfort she silently endured each day.  She woke up, cleaned her house, and cooked meals for her family, in constant suffering from this excruciating condition.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

In London, A Gold for Trachoma

Trachoma mapping will aid global effort to rid the world of Neglected Tropical Diseases
mr. coker

This post was written by Chad MacArthur, Helen Keller International’s Director of Neglected Tropical Disease Control.

Days before the Olympics opened in London, I attended meetings at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the city was beginning to bustle with excitement. My interest was in something completely different.

The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) recently awarded our partner organization, Sightsavers, 10.6 million pounds ($16.4 million) to spearhead the completion of the global mapping of trachoma. There are currently more than 1,200 districts throughout the world that are suspected of being endemic for this blinding disease but we have no scientific information to verify this suspicion. more…

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Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness

Hector Gets New Glasses


This post originally appeared on TOMS’ Eyewear blog.  Helen Keller International is partnering with TOMS to provide prescription eyeglasses to students in need through our ChildSight® program.

Hector, 12, is an eager sixth-grader here in Los Angeles, with a knack for math. When he grows up, he hopes to be a veterinarian or play soccer, his favorite sport, professionally.

Not too long ago, Hector was having trouble seeing the blackboard, and was struggling in classes although he had the skills to succeed. Hector knew he needed glasses, but had broken his last pair and wasn’t able to replace them because of his family’s financial constraints. When he could, Hector would borrow his older sister’s glasses, and although that didn’t correct his vision, he thought a little bit of help was better than nothing.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

Rebel with a Cause

An entrepreneur’s vision to end Vitamin A Deficiency

When Wes Stoody entered Eastern Michigan University he thought he wanted to be a professor. Five years later he is educating people, but not in the way he originally planned. Along with business partner Jay Parkin and his sister, Maggie Stoody, Wes created Aframes, a socially conscious line of unisex eyewear. The company sells fashionable sunglasses with the dual goal of raising awareness about vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and helping to fund programs that prevent it.

Aframes is partnering with Helen Keller International and will donate 5% of all revenue to help HKI’s vitamin A supplementation programs around the world.

Next week, Aframes is going one step further: the company will donate 50% of its revenue to HKI in celebration of the start of summer. We encourage you to visit their website between May 28th and June 2nd to take advantage of this generous offer!


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

A Mother’s Day Story

How one woman's bravery inspired HKI's Peggy O’Neill.
Margaret with Peggy

This blog is written by Peggy O’Neill, HKI’s Vice President of Development, Individual Giving.

“I’d tremble too, if a stranger was about to put a sharp scalpel to my eyelid,” was all I could think as I watched Somoe Abdalah prepare for trichiasis surgery. I walked up to her and gently took her hand in mine. Tears immediately began to roll down her cheeks, and soon after, I was crying too.

I didn’t expect to get emotional as I got in a jeep that morning to observe HKI’s Trachoma program in a remote Tanzanian village, but there was something about seeing this woman, my own age, lying on an exam table awaiting surgery that particularly moved me. She was trying so hard to be brave, but her trembling showed her fear.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

Integrated NTD control in Mali

Lessons learned in Mali can serve as example for other countries implementing integrated NTD programs.
Mali Map PLOS

This post was written by Amy Alabaster and first appeared on the End the Neglect blog.

In many parts of the world where NTDs run rampant, it’s not uncommon to see communities affected by 2, 3 or even all seven of the most common NTDs. Because of this, countries and other stakeholders involved in NTD control are increasing efforts to integrate disease control programs. Integration helps to reach more people with the drugs needed to treat and prevent NTD infections, while cutting down on costs and resource demands.

In 2007, Mali was one of five ‘fast-track’ countries, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by RTI International and assisted by Helen Keller International, to launch an integrated national NTD Control Program. A paper recently published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS) NTDs describes the successes and lessons learned so far through the implementation of this program.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

TOMS is Helping Give Sight to Children in the U.S.


This post originally appeared on TOMS’ blog.  Helen Keller International is partnering with TOMS to provide prescription eyeglasses to students in need through our ChildSight® program.

As TOMS sight giving continues in Nepal, Tibet and Cambodia, we are very happy to share that TOMS Eyewear purchases are now helping restore sight to children in the United States as well!

TOMS is excited to partner with Helen Keller International’s (HKI) ChildSight® program to help provide prescription glasses to children living in impoverished U.S. communities. Since 1994, ChildSight® has provided vision screening and prescription eyeglasses to at-risk students living in urban and rural communities in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and the Navajo Nation. TOMS Eyewear is proud to join them in helping provide new glasses to children.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

Meet HKI’s Friendly Worm Warrior: Emily Toubali

An interview with HKI's Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control
Moyamba 2

In honor of World Water Day, I am highlighting Helen Keller International’s Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Emily Toubali. One of her responsibilities it to manage our Trachoma Control Programs, a major component of which is promoting face-washing and proper sanitation to prevent this blinding disease. I recently sat down with Emily and asked her about her background, what drew her to the career she has today, and why water is so important to global health.


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles

Test Your Knowledge!

A Global Blindness Facts Quiz

How much do you know about blindness and visual impairment? Take our quiz to test your global health knowledge!

Instructions: Answer all 5 questions. Once you are finished the correct answers will be displayed.

How many people worldwide are visually impaired?

What percentage of all visual impairment is avoidable by prevention, treatment or cure?

What percentage of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries?    

Globally, what is the most common cause of visual impairment?

Which of the following blinding diseases can be  prevented or treated?

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Categories Preventing Blindness

A Great Last Minute Gift

Christmas Oranament

Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is just days away. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further!  This holiday season, make a donation to Helen Keller International in honor of someone special to help save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Whatever amount you give  – $1,000 to provide 1,000 children with life-saving vitamin A, $250 to restore the vision of five people through cataract surgery, or $25 to give one American child the glasses she needs  – your gift will make a significant improvement in someone’s life. You can’t say the same for fruitcake!

Don’t just take my word for it: Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof included HKI in his annual gift guide noting: “HKI gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of.”

Our success is due to the loyal commitment of friends and supporters like you. During this season of giving as we look forward to a new year, please consider making a difference with a donation to Helen Keller International.

On behalf of the HKI team working around the globe – and those whose lives are touched because of your generosity – we wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


A drawing from a child in Cambodia who benefited from our Homestead Food Production program. The ornament at top was drawn by a student in NYC who received free eyeglasses through our ChildSight® program.

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Categories Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, United States