Eye Health Equals

One billion people have a visual impairment that could have been prevented or could still be treated. If the world’s eye care needs were met, the impact would be astounding.

A school student wearing a bright yellow shirt smiles as he holds his right hand over his eye. There's an illustrated ring of small dots surrounding his face.

© Sightsavers/John Healey

A manifesto for change

Eye health is about more than sight – it’s about a vision of the future.

To achieve the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), eye health is essential.

Why? Because good eye health has a ripple effect, improving education, economic and health outcomes.

But unless it is recognised as a vital part of the bigger health and development picture, our efforts to achieve the SDGs and universal health coverage will fail.

Ophthalmic nurse Jeremiah Gwafa screens community members' eyes for trachoma.

The change we seek is ambitious, but achievable. It requires governments, donors, decision-makers, NGOs and other partners to work together to:

Recognise the importance of eye health in achieving development goals and universal health coverage

Integrate eye health into global and national health, education and employment policies and programmes

Invest in inclusive eye health services, with particular focus on women and girls

Eye health equals opportunity, allowing children to learn and adults to earn. It equals improved wellbeing: supporting families, communities and nations to thrive. And it equals progress towards reducing poverty and inequality.

The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals is a world where no one – regardless of gender, disability, age, income or status – is left behind. Eye health equals a crucial chance to make that promise a reality.

Join our campaign and reveal what eye health equals to you by sharing on social media. View our social media toolkit

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2.2 billion people globally

have a visual impairment, but almost half of this is preventable or treatable.

A lilac illustrated icon of a wallet.

£343.7 billion a year

is thought to be lost in productivity because of visual impairment.

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Half the population

worldwide are unable to access the eye care they need.

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Learn why the Sustainable Development Goals are key

What are the SDGs?
Wilson, Ganizani and Alice sit on the ground outside their homes in Malawi.

When small ripples make big waves

In a village in southern Malawi live Wilson, Ganizani and Alice. Their story shows how the impact of one eye operation can spread throughout an entire community, changing lives as it goes.

Read their story

The ripple effect of access to eye care

Shamima and her child Toha in Bangladesh. There's an illustrated ring of small dots surrounding their faces.

It started with a tuk-tuk: Shamima’s story

Shamima, who has hearing and speech impairments, was able to access vital treatment after her sister heard about Sightsavers’ free eye camps via a local tuk-tuk campaign.
Read Shamima’s story

Gladys Atto in her medical scrubs, smiles at the camera. There's an illustrated ring of small dots surrounding her face.

The only ophthalmologist in Karamoja

Cataract surgeon Gladys Atto is an everyday hero, saving sight and building long-term eye health services in Uganda to ensure everyone can get the treatment they need.
Read Gladys’s story

Asmau and Fatima, both wearing coloured headscarves, smile and embrace at their home in Nigeria.

“Thank God for giving us a mother who loves us so much”

In Nigeria, one community is home to a family in which nearly every member has experienced visual impairment.
Hear their story

Arif and his mother sit on a bed chatting.

“Now I know what a gift sight is”

Arif’s life changed when he had two cataract operations at five years old. We've been following his journey since then, from completing his education to finding work as a driver.
Read Arif’s story

Read more about our work to protect sight

Sightsavers and eye health