Paediatric patient Rachael wearing red glasses and a pink dress, looking into camera after treatment


Africa is the continent with the highest prevalence of blindness with an estimated 4.8 million blind and 16.6 million people living with severe to moderate visual impairment.

In 2014, South Africa had 383,920 blind. The majority of the ophthalmologists work in urban areas and private sector, whereas the citizens most at risk live in rural areas. In Ethiopia, trachoma - an entirely preventable eye disease - is partly responsible for causing blindness in nearly a million people. Approximately 9,000 children in Ghana are blind – more than half these cases were avoidable.

Clouds in their eyes - A video by Orbis Africa

In many regions of Africa, there are barriers to reaching children that need eye care – whether these are geographical, financial or social. In Ghana, we have found that there is an ongoing challenge with patients being booked for surgery and then not attending, due to financial difficulties or cultural beliefs about surgery.

To combat this, we are improving counseling services at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Eye Unit and have converted an office into a "Paediatric Counselling Room", to provide privacy and reassurance for patients and their relatives.

Find out what we're doing to fight avoidable blindness elsewhere in Africa.

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