International Centre for Eyecare Education

What they do

Headquartered at University of New South Wales Australia, the mission of the International Centre for Eyecare Education (“ICEE”) is to eliminate avoidable blindness due to “uncorrected refractive error” – a technical way of saying a person needs a pair of appropriate glasses to see – by developing sustainable solutions for disadvantaged communities in need of eye care.

In developed countries there is one eye care practitioner for every 10,000 people, but in developing countries there may be as few as one practitioner per 150,000 people, and in some rural areas none at all. ICEE is training health care workers, eye care assistants and nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists to provide refractive services to their communities.

In many areas of the world, glasses are either not available, inappropriate, or too expensive. ICEE is developing systems for the supply and distribution of low or no cost glasses to communities in need, to ensure all communities have access to affordable vision correction. Visit http://www.icee.org/ for more information about ICEE.

What we funded

The island nation of East Timor, with an estimated population of 900,000, is the world’s newest country, having become independent from Indonesia in May 2002. Prior to 1999 there were some eye care services available in East Timor being delivered by visiting doctors from other Indonesian islands. When the referendum for independence was held in 1999 these services discontinued and any existing eye care infrastructure was destroyed in the violence that followed. From 1999 until early 2003, there were no permanent health personnel of any kind to support the eye care needs of the population of East Timor.

In coordination with the East Timorese Ministry of Health, ICEE is facilitating the reconstruction of a sustainable eye care system and the development of the necessary professional human resource base in East Timor to provide much needed eye care to the people of East Timor.

Silverton Foundation funding is underwriting ICEE activities under a memorandum of understanding with the East Timorese Ministry of Health to train nurse practitioners in primary eye care services delivery; equip eye care clinics in selected administrative districts for use by these nurse practitioners once they have completed their training; provide a supply of eyeglasses for use in connection with operation of the clinics; and facilitate a national conference of the various stakeholders in this process, including Ministry of Health officials, ICEE staff, nurse practitioners and community leaders regarding outreach and coordination of eye care service delivery across East Timor.

Click here to learn about ICEE’s progress in East Timor with Silverton Foundation funding, or read progress reports regarding ICEE activities in the Lautem and Bobonaro regions.

For more information about the East Timor Eyecare Program, visit http://icee.org/programs_services/index.asp and select “In Country Programs”, then “Timor Leste”.