SightLife’s 2019 Annual Report: Reflecting on a Record-Breaking Year
We are proud to share SightLife’s 2019 Annual Report, highlighting a record-breaking year by our U.S. and International Programs, as well as new endeavors and strategic expansion. With every passing year, our momentum and partnership-driven impact continues to grow!
2019 also marked 50 years of transforming lives through the gift of sight. From a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to fill local transplant needs to the world’s leading nonprofit eye bank and global health organization dedicated to eliminating corneal blindness by 2040, a lot has changed for SightLife over the last five decades of operations. One thing that remains constant is our core belief that everyone deserves the opportunities that sight affords – from staying in school and maintaining independence, to sustaining a livelihood and providing for one’s family.
With our partners, SightLife made this a reality for men, women, and children around the world by providing 37,456 corneas for transplant. By doubling our prevention work, we also saved the sight of thousands more. Corneal transplants are at the heart of our work, but to achieve our mission, we continued to strategically expand our focus in 2019, both programmatically and geographically, so more people had access to the corneal care they needed, when and where they needed it.
Let’s share a few highlights:
Harnessing the Power of Innovation. SightLife launched the Access and Innovation program to explore and help adapt a growing range of existing and emerging technologies that hold promise for scaling quality corneal care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) globally. Read more, page 10.
Strengthening Eye Banking. By facilitating the delivery of 12,579 corneas for transplant with our local partners in the U.S., we catapulted our domestic total to over 200,000 since our founding. Key process improvements drove these results, including our work to expand timely access to donors by training 440 hospitals, nurses and funeral directors on best practices, quality standards, and protocols for donation in the U.S. Read more, page 8.
Bolstering Clinical Capabilities. Our team and cadre of volunteer faculty trained 442 surgeons and corneal care specialists across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In close partnership with China’s Xi’an No.1 Eye Hospital, we also conducted the world’s first-ever general ophthalmologist training for the prevention and treatment of corneal blindness. Read more, page 7.
Expanding National Eye Care Plans. Although Bangladesh is home to approximately 500,000 people who suffer from corneal blindness, only 400 corneal transplants are conducted in the country each year. To address service gaps, SightLife partnered with Orbis International as well as the Bangladesh National Eye Care initiative, Directorate General of Health Services, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to develop a national eye care plan that will help ensure people receive the preventative corneal care and sight restoring surgeries they need. Read more, page 7.
These highlights represent only a sliver of what we accomplished this past year. And yet, nothing would have been possible without the unprecedented trust and passion for our mission by donor families, recipients, partners, staff, board members, and financial supporters. We are grateful for each and every one of you!
We are particularly grateful to the Rostov Family, Slalom, The Goradia Foundation and the late Synnove Lein Fielding for their generosity, which truly helped catapult our work to new heights. Read more, page 13-16.
As we all continue to navigate our new normal in the era of COVID-19, we want to assure you that we are building on the momentum of 2019 – collaborating with many dedicated business and global leaders to minimize the pandemic’s impact on our important work in the U.S. and internationally. SightLife is also adapting our own strategies to ensure we realize our mission of eliminating corneal blindness by 2040.
We invite you to read more about our impact on individuals and health systems around the world in the full 2019 Annual Report.