Celebrating 20 Years of Fighting Blindness in India

October 2020

On World Sight Day, we celebrate 20 years of fighting blindness in India with our supporters and partners. Since our Delhi office was established in 2000, our India team has delivered millions of successful eye screenings, treatments, and surgeries - transforming the lives of children like little Vaishnava above.

In these 20 years, our team in India have worked to build capacity and set up eye hospitals across the country with a particular focus on child vision centers. Together with these partners, we have transformed the lives of thousands of children, women and men impacted by blindness.

Your support means people throughout India are getting their sight back. With the incredible commitment of the entire Orbis family — including you — we will transform the lives of millions more.

The Beginning of our Work in India

In 1988, our Flying Eye Hospital visited India twice, first in Hyderabad and then in New Delhi. These trips were the seeds of a long-term relationship between Orbis and dozens of hospitals in India. After establishing the first Orbis office and long-term country programs in Delhi in 2000, our impact really took flight!

Our team launched the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), our flagship program, in 2002 to help ensure India’s children have access to quality eye care for generations to come. To date, our team has helped build 33 Children’s Eye Centers across 17 states in India.

The first of these Children’s Eye Centers was established at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, our partner hospital in Delhi. This led to many other firsts, including the first Orbis-trained Indian pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Suma Ganesh.

Meet Dr. Suma Ganesh, a leader in eye care

Bringing Children's Eye Health to the Poorest Communities

The 33rd Children’s Eye Center was inaugurated at Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital in 2019. This is the first such center in the state of Bihar devoted exclusively to children’s eye health. One of the poorest states in India, Bihar is home to approximately 700,000 people who are living with blindness, many of them children.

Together with Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, we are dedicated to treating and preventing avoidable blindness for children in this region. The hospital also empowers women in the community by employing them in many critical positions.

Learn more about the amazing Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital

Little Vaishnavi can see the World again

When 5-year-old Vaishnavi started to lose sight in her right eye, her father feared she would struggle with her education. So he took her to a doctor in their village in Bihar. The doctor explained that she had a cataract and that, over time, it would only get worse.

Unfortunately, the local doctor didn’t have the eye care skills to treat the little girl’s condition. She and her family had to make the trip to a bigger hospital for additional help. The family travelled 100 miles by bus to Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, where Orbis’s Volunteer Faculty were training local eye doctors at the Children’s Eye Center.


Image Gallery: Vaishnavi and her father during and after treatment.

Just look at Vaishnavi’s big smile! Thanks to Orbis supporters and our strong partnership with Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, local doctors removed Vaishnavi’s cataract and were grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills from our Orbis Volunteer Faculty. Together, the Orbis community creates #HopeInSight for children like Vaishnavi.

Celebrate 20 years in India with us!

To recognize 20 years of fighting blindness in India, we are celebrating in a BIG way! Just look at what we’re launching:

1. Virtual Flying Eye Hospital

The Flying Eye Hospital was due to be in India on World Sight Day to help celebrate the 20th anniversary. But because of COVID-19, we had to rethink our plans.

The good news is that our wonderful team has been working hard to deliver a Virtual Flying Eye Hospital project instead. The project includes a month-long simulation wet lab on Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery.

Participants will learn about the procedure first from home through Cybersight, with guided lectures and discussions, and then in our partner hospital's simulation centers.

Being able to reach out to bigger audiences than in-person projects is the biggest perk of the virtual projects. It is also great to be able to provide learners with the flexibility of going through the training content at their own pace for the most part.

Meryem Altun Parent

Orbis Program Manager

2. Simulation Center Manual and Virtual Symposium

The Simulation Center Manual is a new Orbis-developed guide for the training of hospitals and teaching institutions that are looking to establish their own ophthalmic simulation centers and training programs. We are commemorating the release of the manual with a weeklong virtual symposium that will bring together thought leaders, educators and practitioners in the field of simulation for engaging discussions, demonstrations, case studies and training sessions. Learn more and register here.

3. Child Vision Report

When children have healthy vision, they have an opportunity to excel in school, their families can prosper, and their futures become so much brighter. That's why we are pleased to release the Child Vision Report in conjunction with the 20th anniversary celebration and World Sight Day.

This report addresses the contemporary issues and challenges around eye health in India, focusing on children. Leading experts in child eye health lay out a road map to deliver quality eye care that can prevent avoidable blindness for millions of children. We know you’ll agree: there’s hope in sight for generations!

4. Orbis 20 Years in India Video Series

See how everyday heroes — Orbis-trained local doctors, Volunteer Faculty, and supporters just like you — have made a difference fighting blindness in India. Starting on World Sight Day, we will release 2 videos per week. Keep an eye out on our social media for future videos!

Orbis India Partner Hospitals during COVID-19

We're so proud of all that our colleagues in India have accomplished in the last two decades. And this year they've gone above and beyond in their response to COVID-19. Their sight-saving work and humanitarian efforts since the onset of the pandemic have been extraordinary.

Whether they're providing urgent eye care or delivering food relief packages, our partners have generous hearts and are fully dedicated to their communities.


Image Gallery: Local residents receive food and medical care from Orbis partner hospitals in India.

HELP BRING HOPE IN SIGHT FOR CHILDREN IN INDIA AND AROUND THE WORLD

Generous supporters make it possible to give children in India, and around the world, their sight back. The kindness of our supporters is far-reaching, extending not only to those who are in need today, but to a lasting legacy of quality eye care that will ensure no one goes needlessly blind tomorrow.

Please help us fight childhood blindness in India with a gift today. It means everything to Orbis to know that you are there — demonstrating your commitment to create a future with #HopeInSight!

Donate today!

Help us continue to fight blindness in India.