Avoidable blindness and blindness causes

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 With Blindness

This is the reality facing millions of people around the world today. Globally, there are 43 million people living with blindness and 295 million people living with moderate-to-severe visual impairment. Out of these, a huge 77% is completely preventable or treatable.

If they had been able to access the eye care they need, like a simple cataract surgery or a pair of glasses – the kind of care so many of us take for granted – they would be able to see clearly today.

Discover more about blindness causes and the types of eye conditions we’re up against:

Eliminating avoidable blindness is an important part 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 for Preventable Blindness

In most cases, what is needed to help someone see is relatively straightforward – providing glasses, removing a cataract, providing antibiotics or raising awareness of good eye care can be enough to prevent a lifetime of blindness.

The challenge is building lasting infrastructure 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

Nearly four 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 provide much needed medical training and education to eye care teams around the world. Our partnerships with governments, health ministries, NGOs and local hospitals will ensure that we continue to pull together to fight blindness around the world.

You can join us today and be a part of eliminating avoidable blindness in some of the poorest parts of the world.


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