Blindness is a gender issue with 90 million women not having access to quality eye care

Five Reasons Blindness is a Gender Issue

June 2019

Gender is something that’s discussed a lot these days, but no one is talking about the gender gap in blindness – 90 million women don’t have access to life-changing eye care. So why does this injustice exist? Here are five reasons...

Reason 1: Women often come second

Women and girls often miss out when it comes to eye care. That’s because, in some places, the health of men and boys is prioritised. Families who are struggling financially have to make difficult decisions about whose eye care comes first.

Gender and eye care: Women miss out when it comes to eye care

Women face more barriers when it comes to accessing eye care services

Reason 2: Financial freedom

Many women and girls around the world have no control over their family finances. This lack of financial freedom leaves them powerless, unable to pay their healthcare or transport costs.

Reason 3: Lack of confidence

The voices of women and girls have more of a platform today than ever before, but still, some women aren’t in the position to assert their rights. They might not even know they have a right to sight-saving eye care.

Reason 4: Women care

Through play and close contact, children can easily catch and spread blinding diseases like trachoma, which is then passed on to their mothers. In fact, 70% of all people affected by trachoma are women.

Women are more likely to catch blinding diseases due to their role as carers

Reason 5: Poor literacy

Some women have little to no understanding of their condition. This can often be traced back to them missing out on an education, and having lower levels of literacy compared to men and boys. As you can see, blindness truly is a gender issue. But we see the potential in women and girls everywhere, which is why Orbis is training female eye care professionals to perform sight-saving surgery – so they can go on to transform the lives of other women and girls.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Jamaica: A happy patient hugs our Volunteer Faculty following cataract surgery

By training more females in eye care we can help break down gender barriers