Nuran Nahar Aktar examines the sight of a female patient at Char Alexander Vision Center in Bangladesh

Closing the gender gap in eye care across Bangladesh

Globally, women and girls are more likely than men or boys to be blind or suffer from sight loss. For many this can be due to limited financial resources, an inability to travel long distances unaccompanied in some cultures and a lack of women providing eye care. These barriers lead to 112 million more women and girls living with vision loss.

To mark International Women’s Day, we are shining a light on our three Vision Centres across Bangladesh led by women. Through the stories of Nuran and Eti we hope you can see how with support like yours we are tackling these barriers head on.

Meet Nuran Nahar Aktar

Nuran Nahar Aktar provides sight-saving care at Char Alexander Women-led Green Vision Center in Bangladesh

Nuran manages Char Alexander Vision Centre in Lakshmipur in Bangladesh

Many women are more likely to seek eye care for themselves or their children, when it is administered by another woman. Across Bangladesh, Orbis has trained women, like Nuran, to manage and run four Vision Centres.

Nuran has been working at the Char Alexander Vision Centre in Lakshmipur since it opened last February.

“If these centres had not been established so many people would have been deprived of eye care. In this area, medical centres for women and girls are almost non-existent.

“I have mostly female patients who often tell me they are happy to come here and find me. They feel very comfortable sharing their problems with me. We are also the only Vision Centre with an established breast-feeding corner.

“My heart fills with joy when my patients call me ‘doctor.’ And I feel very happy because the money that I earn from this job I share with everyone in my family.”

Meet Eti

An eye health professional screens 14-year-old school student Eti at Shahrasti Women-led Green Vision Center, Bangladesh

Eti having her eyesight checked at her local Women-led Green Vision Centre

Eti, 14, from Chadpur, Bangladesh had been experiencing headaches and eye pains for a few months. As a result, she was starting to fall behind in school. Looking at the board in her classroom would make her dizzy and she found it hard to do her homework.

Although concerned about the impact on her education, Eti’s family were unable to take her to a doctor “Since my father died, I don’t have him or anyone to take me far away to get treatment. Our family also doesn’t have the money."

But when Eti discovered a Women-led Green Vision Centre had opened up near her home she soon went to get her eyes checked. There she was diagnosed with refractive error, short sightedness, and given a free pair of glasses.

For patients unable to afford treatment these centres ensure anyone can still receive care for free or at a reduced cost. For children like Eti, this intervention has been life changing.

School student Eti wearing her new glasses after her screening at Shahrasti Women-led Green Vision Center, Bangladesh

Eti wearing her new glasses

“As soon as I started wearing my glasses, I could see everything clearly again. My headache was gone the very next day and I can once again do my studies without any difficulty.

“It is great that this centre opened near my home. I’m very happy that people in our area with vision problems are being treated at a very low cost.”

We Couldn’t Do This Without You

Your support means we can transform the lives of women and girls

Thanks to amazing supporters like you, our Women-led Green Vision Centres remove the traditional barriers that stop women and girls from accessing quality eye care. But we have more to do and with your help we can build five more of these centres across Bangladesh.

Help more women and girls access the sight saving treatment they need and transform lives

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