Whilst holidaying in Africa some years ago Julie Tyers was astonished at how many people were blind from cataracts as she had never witnessed preventable blindness from cataracts in Australia.
Julie Tyers has 45 years experience as an Ophthalmic Nurse working in Melbourne and Brisbane. With her ophthalmic knowledge and experience in other developing countries, in March 2007 Julie embarked on establishing the Eyes for Africa Charitable Foundation (EFA) to help overcome the issues of widespread preventable blindness in Ethiopia, and to transform lives.
Ethiopia has a population of almost 122 million people, and has an estimated 800,000 people are blind with cataracts, with an additional 5 million people suffering from eye diseases which if left untreated will lead to blindness.
EFA has a specific policy of restoring sight to the “poorest of the poor” and therefore most of the clinics are conducted in remote rural communities.
Since founding EFA, Julie leads a group of volunteers twice a year to Ethiopia to deliver life-changing free cataract surgery to women, men and children, who would otherwise have no chance of regaining their sight. Volunteers, including Ophthalmologists, Anaesthetists, Orthoptists, Optometrists, Nurses and support people, all readily self fund their own airfares, food and accommodation during each trip. EFA pays no wages except to the Ethiopian doctors and nurses who work on the clinics. We can change 200 peoples lives with as little as A$20,000. This includes transport, Pharmaceuticals, lenses, visco elastic and local staff payments.