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

Fighting Blindness in India

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.

Celebrating 20 Years in India

On World Sight Day in 2020 we are celebrated 20 years of fighting blindness in India with our supporters and partners. Since our first India office in Delhi opened in 2000, our team has worked to build skills for pediatric ophthalmologists and created Children's Eye Centers across the nation.

With your help we've been able to:

  • Screen over 17.5 million children for eye disease
  • Perform 103,000 surgeries
  • Completed 180,000 ophthalmic trainings

We are so excited for the future and to continue fighting blindness with our partners in India.

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.

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 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 pediatric 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 pediatric ophthalmology team. This team goes beyond the boundaries of the CEC to work closely with a network of community organizations and volunteers.


March 03, 2021

Twin sisters Chhaya and Chhavi are breaking gender barriers. They are #VisionaryWomen who are saving sight and paving paths for girls in India. How did they do it? In part, by playing soccer! This International Women’s Day, discover how Orbis supporters help elevate women and close the gender gap in blindness.
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Building on our work in quality assurance at eye hospitals, we developed a Quality Resource Center, which is now supporting 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.

In fact In 2020 alone, we delivered:

What We're Doing Next

Vision and learning are closely related to each other. Globally, more than 12 million children below the age of 15 have uncorrected refractive errors, a common eye disorder. They not only suffer poor vision but also face critical setbacks in development since 80 percent of learning is visual.

Orbis, with support from the Qatar Fund For Development, is working with its 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 fifteen districts across the country.

The objectives of this program are to increase access and to improve the quality of child eye health by providing comprehensive refractive error services to school-age children. It will also aim to develop an enabling environment to ensure the delivery of these services as well as create a bank evidence to support a favorable policy and institutional environment.


A map of eye institutes across India


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