Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI)
The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with visual impairments and reduce the prevalence of blindness through appropriate eye care. BCVI was established in 1981 by Joan Musa and in its over 35 years of existence has developed a truly comprehensive eye service. It has successfully developed a range of services that support the needs of blind and visually impaired people whilst also actively working to prevent eye problems that can lead to blindness.
BCVI’s Comprehensive Eye Care Program targets all aspects of visual impairment & blindness, from correcting refractive errors to integrating children who are blind into the school system. Through the Primary Eye Care System, patients are seen by the optometrist and are given prescription glasses, if necessary. Should the doctor find a deeper problem, the patient is then referred to the Secondary Eye Care System and sent to the National Eye Clinic (NEC), where the ophthalmologist examines him or her. At the NEC, the patient can receive the appropriate medication as well as surgery, if necessary.
Not all eye problems can be treated and therefore, our services go beyond the doctor’s office and into the clients’ classrooms and/or homes, through our Education & Rehabilitation Programs. The Education Program prepares the child for classes by providing material for school as well as emotional support. This department at BCVI goes hand-in-hand with the Rehabilitation Program in which trained staff members work with the clients in their daily environments to help get them accustomed to their surroundings in order to live more independently. This program also involves the family members & friends who are trained in dealing with the client’s situation.
Along with working in their homes, we also assist our clients in seeking employment through our Job Placement & Employment Support Program. We also offer extracurricular activities for our older clients, the Visually Impaired Club. Whether a person is born blind or develops vision loss later in life, whether they are visually impaired or blind, we serve all our clients’ needs and we work to ensure that no one is left without an option or an opportunity.