Eye health

Improving eyesight and quality of life through eye exams and glasses for children in Brazil

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The Need

A child’s visual health impacts every moment of their day in a profound way. Good vision is a fundamental part of every child’s physical development, performance in school and overall well-being. Compassion believes eye care should be included in basic health care for all beneficiaries, since it directly impacts their health, future potential and ability to break free from poverty.

Providing children with regular eye exams is critical to identify any degenerative conditions before they become serious. However, in Brazil, an estimated 2.5 million people experience chronic eye issues because they don’t have access to a doctor who can prescribe the correct eyeglasses or treatment. Many Compassion beneficiaries we are serving in Brazil desperately need this essential care, but their families just can’t afford it.

Four of our church partners in an underprivileged region of northern Brazil noticed a large gap in eye care among the boys and girls they serve, whose families don’t have the financial capacity to pay for eye exams. In alignment with Compassion Brazil’s mandate to support children’s holistic development, our partners wanted to address this important part of children’s health by providing them with professional eye exams, as well as offering vital preventive eye education for both children and caregivers.

Our Response

Our partners were thrilled to receive the news that this initiative was fully funded. Meetings were quickly arranged with each partner church to discuss the best use of the funds and to develop an implementation plan. The main objective of this intervention was to improve the overall eye health of beneficiaries from four Compassion centres in the northeastern part of Brazil through professional eye exams and educational workshops and to give further treatment and care to 120 participants who needed it.

Churches were able to hire a team of eye health experts who were willing to offer pop-up clinics at the Compassion centres. In total, 1,016 boys and girls from four Compassion centres received professional eye exams. Of these, 130 were identified as needing glasses and/or further medical attention. Prescription glasses were given to children who needed them. The most serious cases were referred for specialist treatment at the clinic.

Children and their families also attended workshops with the ophthalmologists, where they learned about the importance of eye health. Educational packages were printed and distributed to each family, and participants were provided with food kits containing nutritious foods that can contribute to good ocular health. At the centres, activities were developed to help children understand the functioning of the eye, good eye care and how to prevent ocular disease and injuries. Children applied and reinforced their new knowledge in discussion groups, games, drawings, stories and crafts.

Church partners found it challenging to find specialized experts that were agile enough to provide quality services to each location. In the end, they were able to find ophthalmologists who not only provided care for the children but who were also involved with the eye health campaign, providing guidance and tips for good eye health.


Eye exams: A team of ophthalmologists held pop-up clinics at each of the four Compassion centres, where children were able to receive their eye screenings.

Workshops: Children and their parents attended eye health workshops, where they learned how to maintain good ocular health and identify the signs of vision impairment. Participants also received food kits containing nutritious food items that can contribute to good eye health.

Glasses: Children in need of corrective eyewear were provided with their first-ever pair of prescription eyeglasses.

Your Gift Provides...

Your support provided vital eye care to 1,016 beneficiaries and their families from four Compassion centres in Brazil:

• Eye examinations for 1,016 beneficiaries ages 3 to 20
• Eye prevention and intervention plan for 1,016 children
• Eye examinations, diagnoses, specialist referrals and eyeglasses for children who need them for an estimated 120 children
• Educational training program and activities for children and parents on eye hygiene habits and health practices

ReportA message from those your gift helped

Before, life was very difficult for me. I had a congenital cataract problem and I ended up losing the vision in my left eye, which made it very difficult to see, especially at school.

I am doing much better now, and this intervention helped me a lot. It was something I needed, but unfortunately, my family didn’t have the financial means or the right information to help me.

I can see the care that God has for us, and the care that donors and other people who work for this centre have for each participant who needs it. That makes us very happy. I can say it is an accomplishment when you get something you really want and when someone comes to help when you need help.

I want to say that this intervention came at a good time, as many needed to wear glasses and had no financial means. I want to thank everyone involved in, and responsible for, making this happen. Thank you so much, and may God continue to bless you all.

Rakelly, a Compassion-assisted youth at BR0515

ReportThank you for your generosity

Your support is improving both the eyesight and quality of life for hundreds of children in Brazil. This intervention has already made an impact; in addition to receiving much-needed medical attention, children and their families have learned vital information that can help them take good care of their eyesight in the future.

Many of the children who had been struggling with vision impairment simply didn’t understand why they were having so much trouble focusing in school or playing with their friends. Embarrassed and feeling to blame for their struggles, some children had become painfully shy and withdrawn. Now, having received the correct diagnosis and treatment, centre staff report that children’s self-esteem has improved and that they are participating well in school and at the Compassion centre. Thanks to you, these children can look to the future with confidence. Your generosity has also given church staff a very practical way to demonstrate the love and care of God and His interest in every aspect of their lives. What an incredible gift!

One of the young people you have helped would like to share her thanks: “My name is Alexandra and I am 16 years old. I had a serious problem in my right eye. My vision was blurry, and this was bothering me at school and in computer classes. I was very embarrassed when someone asked me to read something, so I always avoided interacting in class or in centre activities. After I received the glasses, my life improved a lot. I want to thank you for your help. I’m very happy!”

Because of you, 120 children like Alexandra have the gift of better eyesight, allowing them to perform better academically and socially. Armed with the knowledge of how to foster good eye health, more than 1,000 families can ensure they maintain the incredible gift of sight long into adulthood. Thank you for helping fulfill such an essential need for so many children and families!

ReportA message from a centre director

This Intervention brought incalculable benefits, taking into account the quality of life that children and adolescents may have and helping their development in all areas.

The intervention has benefited the church, centre and community, supporting the development of children and adolescents and providing adequate information and knowledge for families.

Today, participants are able to participate in activities that were previously difficult, such as writing and reading. We observed that even the socialization among the participants has made a leap. Activities in groups can be developed without the participants having difficulties.

Our hearts are grateful for such a blessing. What a joy to be able to count on your support, care and love for our participants, and for us who are blessed to see and contemplate every smile from parents and children. Our hearts’ desire is that our God be with each of you, always supplying for you and blessing you. Receive our prayers, and in them we ask that God continue to take care of each home and family. You are a blessing!

Anna Michelle, Centre director at BR0516