Sightsavers Reports

Strengthening eye health: a focus for health systems

October 2017

Poor eye health is, surprisingly to many, one of the most common health problems for people in developing countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one adult goes blind every second, and one child becomes blind every minute. Globally, an estimated 314 million people are visually impaired, including 45 million people who are blind – 90 per cent live in low-income countries.

The two biggest causes of visual impairment in developing countries are cataract, a clouding of the lens that stops light reaching the retina, and uncorrected refractive errors, where the eye doesn’t focus images on the retina correctly (leading to blurred vision) and this isn’t adjusted through glasses or contact lenses. Two of the leading five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are also significant causes of blindness: trachoma, an infection than can eventually lead to scarring of the cornea, and onchocerciasis (or river blindness), a parasitic disease transmitted by small black flies, both of which are being reduced through effective long-term control programmes. A collection of childhood conditions, including corneal scarring from vitamin A deficiency, are also important causes.

Want to read more about our work?

Sightsavers and eye 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.

Sightsavers, May 2018
NTD coordinators in Nigeria receive the keys to their new motorbikes from the Director of Public Health.
Sightsavers from the field

April highlights: updates from around the world

An update from Nigeria, where Sightsavers has donated new motorbikes to a group of NTD workers. Plus news from Guinea, Cameroon and Mozambique.

May 2018
Surgical staff perform a cataract operation.
Sightsavers from the field

Watch cataract surgery condensed into one and a half minutes

During a recent trip to Bangladesh, we filmed a time-lapse video of a Sightsavers cataract operation taking place at Khulna BNSB hospital.

April 2018