A grandfather in orange with his granddaughter, post surgery, in pink. She is wearing an eye patch


India is home to more than 20 percent of the world's blind population and the largest number of blind children in any one country. The divide between the rich and poor continues to increase, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to basic healthcare services — most of whom live either in rural India or in urban slums.

Success in India

We established a permanent office in Delhi in 2000 to focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of eye diseases, especially among children. Over the years, Orbis India has worked in the areas of corneal blindness and eye banking, childhood blindness, quality assurance, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy.

In fact in 2019 alone, we delivered:

Small children in a rural Indian village stand by an eye test stuck onto a post as part of the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (IBCI)

India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI)


  • We strengthened the concept of a hospital-based corneal retrieval program on a national level, which was instituted in more than ten hospitals in India.
  • Building on our work in Quality Assurance at eye hospitals, we have developed a Quality Resource Center which now supports other eye care facilities across India and internationally in Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • As a founding member of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight INDIA, we are also actively involved in the activities of the World Health Organization’s Vision 2020 initiative.


We launched the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), our flagship program, in 2002, to help ensure that India’s children across geographies have access to quality eye care for generations to come.

To date, 32 Children’s Eye Centers have been developed across 17 states of the country. This is the largest network of Children’s Eye Centers in the world.

As part of this, we contributed to the development of paediatric ophthalmology as a distinct sub-specialty in the Indian ophthalmology landscape. Our work has also been instrumental in creating and promoting the idea of a paediatric ophthalmology team.

Through our role in India’s paediatric eye care and advocacy efforts, the Indian government now includes childhood blindness among its health care priorities.

Pinki and her grandfather

June 23, 2017

It was Pinki’s grandfather who brought her to the Orbis-supported Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya Hospital in Chitrakoot, India – nine hours away from her family home.
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What We're Doing Next

It is estimated that 80% of a child's learning occurs through vision. When a child can't see their books or blackboard clearly, they are unable to learn meaningfully and their school performance suffer.

Globally, more than 12 million children below the age of 15 have uncorrected refractive errors, a common eye disorder.

Orbis, with support from the Qatar Fund For Development, is working with our partners to fight the problem of uncorrected refractive errors.

Our new program REACH – Refractive Error Among CHildren – aims to reduce visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive error among school-age children in India and Bangladesh.

We aim to increase access and to improve the quality of child eye health by providing comprehensive refractive error services to school-age children.

Orbis wants to develop an enabling environment for the delivery of these services and collect evidence to advocate for policy and institutional changes.


A map of eye institutes across India
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