Soli and Percy Ghaswala’s passion to make a difference in the lives of the abandoned poor led them to utilise Percy’s background in eye-banking to establish Ghaswala Vision Foundation where they have assembled a team of experts who volunteer their time to restore the vision of patients living below the poverty line.
According to the World Health Organization, 39million people worldwide are blind and 246million people live with moderate to severe visual impairments. There are 3.8million corneal blind people in India – 60% of whom are children. Corneal blindness has several causes, but malnutrition and poor hygiene are chief among them, thus disproportionately affecting the poor.
Unfortunately blindness often relegates the impoverished to the fringe of society due to their inability to work and dependence on others.
However, many of these cases are reversible with simple procedures to correct glaucoma, corneal blindness, and other retinal damage.
Like in Swapnil’s* case. When two months old, he was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumour. With chemotherapy and GVF’s support, the tumour regressed by 95%, and he has a good prognosis to recover sight in his right eye.
Similarly, four-year-old, Divya* is no longer at risk of losing her eyesight after undergoing a barrage laser for retinal coloboma procedure. She can now return home to Madhya Pradesh to attend school.
Annually, GVF provide 35-40 individuals free services. These range from medicinal support for vision threatening disorders to simple interventions including spectacles, corrective surgeries for cataracts and squint.
Many groups collect donated eyeballs; unfortunately, 70-80% of these gifts end up unusable due to faulty processing. GVF work to responsibly harvest “healthy processed eyeballs” from organ donors and advocate on behalf of blind patients who cannot afford the subsequent costs of processing, surgery and hospitalisation.
In addition to financial assistance, GVF also educate the public about the importance of eyeball donations and strive for accountability and transparency within the sector so these gifts don’t continue to go to waste.
Join GVF today in promoting empathy for every blind individual.
*Names have been changed to protect patients’ identities.