Inclusive eye health

We define inclusive eye health as services that are sustainable, accessible and planned with gender and disability considerations in mind.

Art student putting finishing touches to the Inclusive Eye Health mural in Bhopal.

While our main focus is to address the barriers experienced by people with disabilities, and women/girls, our programmes also reach other marginalised groups, such as people with HIV/AIDS and transgender people.

Our inclusive eye health approach is informed by a rights-based approach to inclusive development. This means that we aim to strengthen local systems by supporting governments and local stakeholders in the provision of inclusive and sustainable services, as well as enabling people with disabilities and other marginalised groups to claim their rights to health and other services.

Ultimately, we aim to not only empower people with disabilities to make informed decisions and prioritise their health, but also to support governments and other decision-makers in the provision of more inclusive and sustainable services.


A group of five elderly people on Bhopal. All are sitting on the floor smiling, while wearing spectacles.

Health as a human right

The fundamental right to health for all individuals is stated in several international treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to the World Health Organization, around one billion people worldwide live with disability: that’s one in seven people. An estimated 80 per cent of people with disabilities live in developing countries, and people with disabilities often experience multiple barriers in accessing healthcare.

On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a new development framework: ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. Agenda 2030 is composed of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (with a total of 169 targets) aimed at eradicating poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change between 2015-2030.

Agenda 2030 includes a commitment to ‘leave no one behind’, and contains many references to people with disabilities and women/girls. Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages) is to achieve universal health coverage, ensuring access for every individual to quality, accessible and affordable health care services.


Reports and presentations

Ensuring universal access to eye health in urban slums in the Global South: the case of Bhopal (India)

In the context of its Urban Eye Health Programme in Bhopal (India), Sightsavers launched a pilot approach aimed at developing an Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) model and IEH Minimum Standards.

View the document [pdf]


Universal design and inclusive eye health: a pilot initiative in Bhopal (India)

Sightsavers is currently piloting an Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) initiative in Bhopal (India), involving a tertiary eye hospital and six primary vision centres located within urban informal settlements. The project aims to develop an IEH model inspired by principles of inclusion, accessibility, participation and universal design, and informed by a human rights-based approach to inclusive development.

View the document [pdf]


Inclusion made easy in eye health programmes

Disability inclusive practices for strengthening comprehensive eye care: a CBM guide in partnership with Sightsavers and other eye health organisations.

View the document [pdf]


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Sightsavers and disability rights

More about inclusive health

A woman has her eyes examined by a male ophthalmologist.
Sightsavers blog

Lessons from our first inclusive eye health project

Sightsavers recently undertook a learning review to capture and consolidate what we’ve learned so far from our eye health pilot project in Bhopal, India.

A cataract patient is led into hospital by a doctor in Mozambique.
Sightsavers blog

Inclusive eye health in Mozambique: an exciting new beginning

Andrea Pregel shares his experiences of planning Sightsavers’ new initiative in Nampula, which will provide free eye care to thousands of people.

Art student putting finishing touches to the Inclusive Eye Health mural in Bhopal.
Sightsavers blog

Young artists get creative to promote disability inclusion

Art students in Bhopal painted striking murals along the wall of a hospital to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities.