Avoidable blindness

Imagine living without your sight. Even the simplest things such as eating and walking around becomes a challenge. As your vision slowly worsens, you can no longer see the blackboard at school or see enough to work safely. You stay cooped up at home all day, unable to meet with friends.

Imagine not being able to see the faces of your loved ones.

The problem

253 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired.

Millions of people go blind each year and millions more suffer from poor vision, simply because they can't get the care many of us take for granted.

The reality is that 80% of visual impairment is avoidable - this means that 200 million people are needlessly blind.

Imagine the world around you in darkness.

Orbis, along with our dedicated volunteers and partners, has played a role in the global blindness prevention community's efforts to decrease worldwide visual impairment. 

Thanks to the community's hard work, visual impairment has been declining since the 1990s - but there's still a long way to go in the fight against avoidable blindness.

In 2016 alone, Orbis and our partners conducted 3.5 million screenings, 40,000 trainings and 82,000 laser and surgical treatments.

But of course, people are not just statistics. At Orbis, we believe everyone deserves the same opportunity to see the sun rise in the morning, regardless of where they are born.  


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Our solution

Most of the time what it takes to help someone see is relatively straightforward - removing a cataract, prescribing glasses, providing access to antibiotics or raising awareness of good eye care can be enough to prevent a lifetime of blindness. 

The challenge is building lasting structures that can deliver the type of care needed for generations to come. At Orbis, we know the only way to make a real difference is to help build strong health systems that will go the distance and ensure people can receive good quality eye care when they need it.  

This is why we focus on building the capacity of our partners. We support the development and sustainability of our partner's work through training programs.

Eliminating avoidable blindness is one of the most cost effective ways of fighting poverty. For every $1 invested in blindness prevention, more than $4 is returned in economic terms.