Preventing Blindness

World Sight Day 2014 

World Sight Day 2014 is on 9 October 2014 (the second Thursday of October). This annual event focuses on the problem of global blindness and aims to raise public awareness around the world about the prevention and treatment of loss of vision.

Helen Keller International (HKI), one of the oldest and most effective international NGOs devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition around the world, will hold its second World Sight Day Luncheon to raise awareness about this event, as well as celebrate its work in blindness prevention and treatment.

How do you support children's eye care charities on World Sight Day? Learn about our ChildSight® program.

Every minute, one child goes blind.  
One adult goes blind every five seconds.

There are 285 million people who are blind or visually impaired. But, 80% of them don’t have to be. At Helen Keller International, we use a variety of interventions to combat preventable blindness around the world.

HKI Saves Sight Around the Globe!

Diabetic Retinopathy: A Growing Crisis in Developingdiabetic_retinopathy Nations

In recent years, cases of diabetic retinopathy have rapidly increased to the point where the condition is now a leading cause of preventable blindness.  Oftentimes, diabetes patients won't even realize that their vision loss is connected to diabetes, which is why it is crucial for organizations like HKI to raise awareness and provide access to screenings and treatment.   

trachoma_guinea_2013Trachoma: On the Road to Elimination

HKI has been at the forefront of the fight against trachoma in Africa for many years.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of HKI staff and our partners around the world, we are on track to eliminate trachoma in Mali and Niger by 2015 and in several other countries by 2020.

childsightChildSight®US: Giving Students the Gift of Clear Vision

HKI combats vision impairment right here in the United States through our ChildSight® program, which helps students by giving them access to free eye screenings and prescription glasses in their schools.  



Cataract: Restoring Sight for Those in Need

Cataract is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, especially in countries where people do not have access to treatment. HKI trains surgeons and nurses in developing countries to perform sight-restoring cataract surgeries, so more people who are needlessly blind can be given the gift of sight.


Meet Our Experts

HKI has been carrying on the legacy of Helen Keller, our fearless founder, for almost a century as an innovator in the field of eye health. Get to know some of our Experts who are at the forefront of combatting preventable blindness.

Kathy Spahn, HKI's President and CEO, is a thought leader in the eye health community as a member of the Executive Committee on the Board of Trustees for the International Agency to Prevent Blindness and several other organizations at the forefront of preventing blindness.

Nick Kourgialis, the Vice President of Eye Health, has been recently named the Chair of the Diabetic Retinopathy Committee for the International Agency to Prevent Blindness and is leading the charge to curb the rise of Diabetic Retinopathy in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Nancy Prail and Tonya Daniels give students in New York, New Jersey and four other states across the country the gift of clear vision by spearheading HKI’s ChildSight® program.

Emily Toubali, the leader of HKI's Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) team, is on the front lines of the fight to eliminate several NTDs, working with Ministries of Health and other partners in several countries in Africa. 


In the News

HKI's success in preventing blindness worldwide has made headlines. Check out the latest updates on HKI’s sightsaving programs!

  • HKI's Nick Kourgialis draws a startling connection between blindness and diabetes in a recent letter to the New York Times.
  • New York Times writer Nick Kristof visits HKI's trachoma program in Mali - don't miss his article!
  • ChildSight® Program Manager Tonya Daniels discusses Back to School eye health on a special segment of  NY1 News
  • Could your child need glasses? Learn more about the signs that your child may need glasses in a special interview with our ChildSight® team in the New York Daily News.