Avoidable blindness

Imagine losing your sight in one of the poorest regions in the world. Where would you turn for help? With few quality eye doctors, hospitals or clinics, your chances of getting the right kind of care are small. As your sight gets worse, your chances of getting an education or earning a steady income evaporate and you risk becoming blind for life.

The problem

This is the reality facing millions of people around the world today. Shockingly, 75% of all visual impairment can be prevented or treated. With 253 million people blind or visually impaired that's around 190 million who would be able to see today if they had received surgery or glasses - the kind of care that many take for granted.

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 effective ways of fighting poverty. For every £1 spent on restoring vision, more than £4 is returned to the local economy.

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.

Our solution

In most cases, what is needed to help someone see is relatively straightforward – providing glasses, removing a cataract, 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 receive good, quality eye care when they need it.

Treat and Train

Through hands-on training led by our amazing expert volunteers we improve the skills and knowledge of local eye care teams

Dr Ian Fleming training Vietnamese clinicians, all dressed in scrubs


We work to strengthen health care infrastructure through the long-term support of local partners


We advocate for the inclusion and prioritisation of eye health within public health and government policies

Students sit at desks in teacher training in West Gurage, Ethiopia



Our Vision for Eye Health for All

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 expert volunteers continue to fly around the world providing 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 fight blindness around the world.

Take a look below to find out more about how we do it.