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Supporting Essential Eye Care in Palestine

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Project Overview

Located in East Jerusalem, St. John’s Eye Hospital is Palestine’s leading provider of charitable eye care to Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Since eye care is not routinely offered through Palestine’s public health system, St. John’s provides essential preventive and curative services, along with the only specialized pediatric ophthalmology services in the country.

In 2009, the hospital commissioned a study that found that cataract is the leading cause of correctable blindness among Palestinians over 50 years of age. Cataract often occurs as peopleage and proteins in their eye lenses begin to break down; the lens becomes cloudy and images appear blurry. Without treatment, a cataract patient is at risk of losing his or her vision entirely.

Luckily, this debilitating disease is 100 percent curable if it is identified and treated in time.  Highly trained physicians perform an operation to remove the diseased lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Success rates for surgical vision restoration are greater than 99 percent. Funding this life changing operation, however, remains a challenge. According to Fundraising Manager David Dahdal, only 40 percent of its US$11 million annual budget is covered by patients, the Palestinian Authority, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Most patients are unable to pay the full cost of care, but the hospital refuses to turn anyone away. St John’s must therefore raise funds throughout the year to ensure that all patients receive the preventive and curative treatment they need.

In response, ACP facilitated a $27,000 donation to support St. John’s Eye Hospital’s cataract surgery program in 2011. This donation funded over 100 sight-saving surgeries for Palestinian men and women who were blinded by cataract and otherwise could not afford treatment.  

"ACP's donation has helped more than 100 patients with severe cataract to restore their vision and see the world again. On behalf of patients and staff, St. John's Eye hospital extends its gratitude to ACP."

-David Dahdal, Fundraising Director, St. John's Eye Hospital