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

Avoidable Blindness

Imagine losing your sight in one of the poorest regions in the world. Where would you turn for help? With very few skilled eye doctors or quality medical centres, your chances of receiving the right kind of care are minimal. As your sight gets worse, your chances of getting an education, earning a steady income, or caring for your family evaporate.

The problem

This is the reality facing millions of people around the world today. Shockingly, 75% of all visual impairment could be prevented or treated with access to proper eye care. That means that out of the estimated 253 million children and adults currently suffering from blindness or visual impairment, a staggering 189 million could be able to see, or see more clearly, if they had received surgery, treatment or even a simple pair of eye glasses - the kind of care that many of us take for granted.

The problem is that 89% of those suffering from blindness or visual impairment live in low or middle-income countries where access to skilled eye doctors, quality hospitals, adequate resources, or proper care is extremely limited or non-existent.

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.

Imagine the world around you in darkness.

Orbis, along with our dedicated volunteers and partners, has played a significant role in efforts to decrease worldwide visual impairment. Thanks to this and the hard work of the wider blindness prevention community, the prevalence of visual impairment has dropped from 4.58% in the 1990s to 3.38% today. But, with experts predicting global blindness is set to triple by 2050, there is still a long way to go in the fight to end avoidable blindness altogether.

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.


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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 help build strong health systems that will go the distance and ensure people can receive good quality eye care when they need it.

Our Vision for Eye Health for All

By working together today, we can help build a brighter tomorrow.

More than three decades ago, our fight against avoidable blindness began with the launch of our first Flying Eye Hospital. Today, our global team of Volunteer Faculty continues to fly around the world to provide much needed medical training and education to 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.