Nearly two million people around the world are blind or have visual impairment due to trachoma, a painful bacterial eye infection. If left untreated, trachoma can lead to trichiasis, an even more excruciating and severe condition. Thanks to you more people in Ethiopia are free from the pain and fear of trachoma—thank you!
Ten years ago, Amarech started to feel excruciating pain in both of her eyes. She noticed that opening and closing her eyes was becoming extremely uncomfortable. To reduce the pain, she was using a local eyelash-picking material called ‘worento’ for temporary relief. But Amarech’s untreated eye condition was starting to have more serious long-term effects. She became hypersensitive towards the light, couldn’t work, and stopped seeing friends and family.
As someone who had been very proud of her work—preparing a local drink called ‘Cheka’—Amarech was left feeling defeated and unable to provide her family with the income they needed. Her son pitched in to help by working longer days on the family farm. But his studies suffered as a result, and the family knew this couldn’t be a long-term solution.
Another woman in a nearby community, Beyenech, was also suffering from the same symptoms. Like Amarech, she also had to stop attending social gatherings and couldn’t do her daily work on the family farm. Beyenech had tried medications she received from nearby health facilities, but there was no improvement.
Thanks to Orbis supporters like you, Amarech and Beyenech were both visited by a case finder named Ato who had been trained by Orbis. Because many people are confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbis has been conducting door-to-door visits to ensure people who need eye care can still receive it.
During the visits to the homes of Amarech and Beyenech, Ato saw that both women were suffering from trichiasis, caused by repeat trachoma infections. Ato referred each of them to a nearby health centre where they could receive the surgery they needed. Both women were at risk of losing their sight altogether if they didn’t receive treatment fast.
Trachoma is one of those most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases and a major focus of Orbis’s work around the globe, particularly in rural Ethiopia, where the condition persists, and eye care can be difficult to access. With your continued support, our goal is to eliminate this leading cause of blindness around the world.
Following Ato’s advice, Amarech and Beyenech received bilateral surgery on their upper eyelids, and the procedures were very successful. Both women are thrilled to be able to see clearly again. Now, they are able to work, provide for their families, and socialize free of fear and pain!