Our Work in India | Orbis
A grandfather in orange with his granddaughter, post surgery, in pink. She is wearing an eye patch

Our Work in India

India is home to more than 20% of the world's blind population and the largest number of blind children in any one country. The divide between the rich and poor continues to increase, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to basic healthcare services.

Success in India

We established a permanent office in Delhi in 2000 to focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of eye diseases, especially among children. Over the years, Orbis India has worked in the areas of corneal blindness and eye banking, childhood blindness, quality assurance, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy.

India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI)

We launched the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), our flagship program in 2002, to help ensure that India’s children across geographies have access to quality eye care for generations to come. To date, 32 Children’s Eye Centers have been developed across 17 states of the country.

This is the largest network of Children’s Eye Centres in the world. As part of this, we contributed to the development of paediatric ophthalmology as a distinct sub-specialty in the Indian ophthalmology landscape. Our work has also been instrumental in creating and promoting the idea of a paediatric ophthalmology team. This team goes beyond the boundaries of the CEC to work closely with a network of community organisations and volunteers.

Patient stories: treating Pinki, India, for cataract

June 23, 2017

It was Pinki’s grandfather who brought her to the Orbis-supported Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya Hospital in Chitrakoot, India – nine hours away from her family home.
Read full story

Building on our work in quality assurance at eye hospitals, we developed a Quality Resource Centre, which is now supporting other eye care facilities across India and internationally in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

As a founding member of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight INDIA, we are also actively involved in the activities of the World Health Organisation's Vision 2020 initiative.

In fact In 2018 alone, we delivered:

What We're Doing Next

Vision and learning are closely related to each other. Globally, more than 12 million children below the age of 15 have uncorrected refractive errors, a common eye disorder. They not only suffer poor vision but also face critical setbacks in development since 80% of learning is visual.

Orbis, with support from the Qatar Fund For Development, is working with its partners to fight the problem of uncorrected refractive errors. Our new program REACH – Refractive Error Among Children – aims to reduce visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive error among school-age children in fifteen districts across the country.

The objectives of this program are to increase access and to improve the quality of child eye health by providing comprehensive refractive error services to school-age children. It will also aim to develop an enabling environment to ensure the delivery of these services as well as create a bank evidence to support a favourable policy and institutional environment.

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A map of eye institutes across India
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