We are an Africa-wide non-profit development organization with an aim to reduce avoidable blindness and vision impairment caused by refractive errors and other eye deficiencies. We conduct research and provide child eye care programmes, paediatric human resource development and optometry service delivery through comprehensive eye health.
The core values stated below underpin the ethical and professional manner in which we conduct our work, strive towards our purpose, and govern our operations.
The African Eye Institute is inspired by the vision of:
Described as "the most influential optometrist of our generation", the late Prof Holden has contributed significantly - through lecturing, research and innovation - to education, research, advocacy, social advocacy, social enterprise and humanitarian work in eye health, so that all brackets of society could access high quality, affordable eye health care.
Prof Naidoo is a National Research Foundation B-rated researcher, educator and internationally celebrated public health leader who has has devoted his working life to reducing avoidable blindness and vision impairment, with special emphasis on refractive error. He has been revolutionizing access and delivery to eye care in Africa and for the globally disadvantaged.
One School at a Time (OSaaT)
Almost 340 million children suffer from myopia (near-sightedness) making it one of the biggest global public health challenges. To address this the African Eye Institute (AEI) partnered with CooperVision, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, and Peek Vision, to launch the One School at a Time (OSaaT) vision programme in September 2021, as part of the Berkeley Vision global campaign.
Why is OSaaT Important?
OSaaT is for school pupils in disadvantaged communities where eye healthcare is unaffordable and/or inaccessible. The AEI optometry team conducts eye screenings, provides referrals, and donates spectacles to children in need. By providing this service, children are given the gift of sight which helps with:
· Improved self-confidence
· Better socialization
· Enhanced safety in public spaces
· Academic performance
· Ability to perform daily activities
· Future career prospects
The Rollout of OSaaT
The Pilot Phase of OSaaT was at 2 Umlazi schools in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini District in September 2021. The success of this programme saw Phase 2 initiated at another 9 schools later that year, with Phase 3 running at a further 12 schools from March 2022 to October 2022 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The launch of Phase 3 in March 2022 started with pupils and teachers at Nizam Road Primary in Merebank and Phila Combined School in Umlazi. There was much excitement when the team arrived as, for many of these children, this marked their very first vision screening experience.
Commenting on the OSaaT program, Acting Head of Department of Nizam Road Primary, Sham Maistry said: “My heartfelt appreciation goes out to the wonderful AEI team and their program partners for a very worthy initiative. I have no doubt that better eyesight will improve the academic performance of our learners who are recipients of glasses.”
In 2023, OSaaT was extended into another three provinces in South Africa. Strategic partnerships with The Ruya Project brought OSaaT to Gauteng; with the Special Projects Foundation in East London to the Eastern Cape; and with Eye Save to schools in the Western Cape.
Funding from Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) secured by Berkeley Vision allowed for screenings at another 25 schools, bringing the number of schools that benefitted to 48 in one year.