Blindness in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and boasts a multi-ethnic population. Due to decades of internal conflict, mainly due to the Somoza dictatorship, the country has struggled with providing healthcare to all its citizens. In recent years, however, the Ministry of Health has made enormous strides in expanding its network of services by increasing the number of health facilities and basic health centers across the country.
There have been no comprehensive studies to determine the number of blind people living in Nicaragua. However, it is known that the main causes of blindness are due to age-related conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, which are in many cases treatable. Unfortunately, due to a lack of education surrounding the issue, especially in rural regions, most Guatemalans will live their lives needlessly blind. Additionally, many children and adults will never get their eyes checked due to a lack of eyecare facilities available, especially for the poor. This has serious consequences on children’s education and overall standard of living.
SEE in Nicaragua
SEE hosts several clinics in Nicaragua every year to ensure underserved individuals have the opportunity to receive high-quality eyecare services. In 2017, SEE launched a partnership with Foniprece, a nonprofit ophthalmology clinic. During the first year of the program, SEE supported two clinics where over 500 patients received vital eyecare and 50 received free sight-restoring surgeries.
Additionally, SEE held 2 clinics in Managua led by Dr. John Pajka. The team completed a total of 282 screenings and 289 surgeries. They treated patients with cataracts, corneal scarring and strabismus, restoring their sight and giving them hope for brighter futures.