Avoidable blindness

Imagine losing your sight in one of the poorest regions in the world. Where would you turn for help? With few quality eye doctors, hospitals or clinics, your chances of getting the right kind of care are small. As your sight gets worse, your chances of getting an education or earning a steady income begin to fade away.

The Problem

This is the reality facing millions of people around the world today. Globally, there are 43 million people who are blind and a further 295 million living with moderate-to-severe visual impairment. Out of these, a huge 77% is completely preventable or treatable.

This means there are 33 million people who are blind and 227 million whose lives are severely affected by their vision - needlessly.

If they had been able to access the eye care they need, like a simple cataract surgery or a pair of glasses – the kind of care so many of us take for granted – they would be able to see clearly today.

With your help and the support of our amazing volunteers, we can not only give people their sight back today, but help change the quality of ophthalmologists and build a lasting legacy of quality eye care that will ensure no one goes needlessly blind tomorrow.

Back in 2017 The Lancet Global Health reported that avoidable blindness was set to triple by 2050, reaching a shocking 115 million people.

However, the latest data published in March 2021 shows that by 2050 there is likely to be around 60 million people living with blindness.

This is a huge reduction in the original estimate, demonstrating how the hard work of the global eye care community – including Orbis and our volunteers, partners and supporters – is helping to save sight every day.


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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.

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.

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 strengthen health systems so people can access the quality eye care they deserve when they need it.

Fortunately, the eye health community has a proven track record of getting results.

And with your support and our amazing volunteers, we can not only give people their sight back today, but we can also help build a lasting legacy of quality eye care – ensuring no one goes needlessly blind tomorrow.

Our approach is creating solutions to the global blindness crisis, so more people can see the sun rise every day

Four decades ago, our fight against avoidable blindness began with the launch of our first Flying Eye Hospital. Today, our amazing team of Volunteer Faculty continues to fly around the world delivering medical training and education to local eye care teams.

Our partnerships with governments, health ministries, NGOs and local hospitals will ensure that we continue to pull together to help fight blindness around the world.

Take a look below to find out more about how we do it.


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