Anything to Save the Eyesight
civic activity
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
01-02-2021 - 30-04-2022
Project cost:
54 000,00 EUR
54 000,00 EUR
Types of activities:
information activities, advocacy activities, self-advocacy, creating a support network for people at risk of exclusion / community work / inclusive actions
Target groups:
persons with medical conditions, society

According to the World Health Organization there are around 10,000 individuals suffering from retina genetic disorders leading to blindness, currently living in Poland. The data is only an estimate, as there are no official databases within Poland. For the past two years we have been running a text message (SMS) service and we have had over 500 individuals with these conditions register so far. Due to a slow pace of the disease’s development and lack of reliable statistics and diagnoses, patients have been forced to rely on themselves and each other. Our observations have proven that a lack of sufficient support had negatively impacted patients’ mental health and their working conditions.
A short while before our project’s commencement, a new opportunity to save some of the patients’ ability to see presented itself. The first gene therapy allowing to reverse the effects of the disease has been developed. Yet, it was still inaccessible in Poland. People faced a risk of being socially excluded due to a lack or limited access to diagnostic methods and therapy halting disease’s progress.
We have responded to those problems by organizing nationwide workshops and trainings, during which participants learned about their rights and the ways to protect them. Together, we have developed a report on the circumstances surrounding individuals with rare retinal disfunctions, as well as recommendations pertaining to the needs and lobbying efforts of the group. These actions were a foundation for further activism by the group. We have also organized two separate conferences with healthcare experts presenting. Additionally, we developed a guidebook for patients with genetic retinal disfunctions, explaining in a simple way everything from an early diagnosis to diagnostics and treatment. It contains several tips on how to remain active despite the illness. We have also developed four animated educational films for patients and their families.
Our project evaluation concluded that the initial efforts to integrate members of the community, especially younger patients, and their parents, was met with enthusiasm. It decreased a sense of isolation. We are confident the efforts to support the community will continue after the conclusion of the project.

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