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“If we treat, we help now but if we teach, we help forever…”

Message from Chair of the World Sight Foundation, Anthony Chignell MBE FRCS FRCOphth

The World Sight Foundation (WSF) was formed in 2012 to provide ophthalmic care in the developing world in order to contribute to the solving of 36 million blind people in the world, and about 250 million with severe reduction of vision. Of the various models available, we decided to concentrate on education, and we have eventually settled on trying to help those engaged in primary eye care.

The first person from who a patient seeks help has a vital role to perform in establishing the correct clinical pathway for the patient.

Primary eye care is practised by several health care professionals, and these vary from country to country: ophthalmic assistants, clinical officers, ophthalmic nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists.

In many instances the training and post-graduate education of this cadre is limited, and the WSF seeks to address these educational needs.

We have developed a style of teaching, which consists of three-to-four-day courses of interactive lecturing and skills based clinical sessions.

The courses are general in nature, but we do sometimes highlight certain conditions, for example the rising prevalence of diabetes with its potentially blinding consequences.

The object is to help trainees to not only be able to diagnose and treat simple conditions, but also to identify sight threatening eye disease. This ability is mainly achieved by improving examination skills.

Our teaching courses, consisting of UK based teachers working with local experts, have been held in Africa, India and China.

Covid has prevented us from travelling recently, but during the last year we have published an affordable manual for those conducting primary care. This had been well received and we have produced French and Portuguese translations aimed at those practising in Francophone and Lusaphone Africa and Brazil. In 2022 we will produce Spanish, Malay and Mandarin translations.

We are also developing distance learning courses, which will allow us to be in touch with a large number of primary care practitioners.

Our ethos is summed up by our motto which is “If we treat, we help now but if we teach, we help forever.”

Order your copy of the manual from The World Sight Foundation: www.worldsightfoundation.com


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