Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide. In 2018, Sightsavers helped to screen more than 950,000 people for eye conditions.

A woman holds her smiling son as they walk through a wooded area near their village.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, yet it has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide.

Extreme poverty and a lack of awareness about health issues mean more than half a million people are thought to be blind as a result of cataracts.

Our work in Bangladesh focuses on screening people to diagnose eye problems, providing sight tests to check for refractive error, and supporting cataract operations to restore vision.

We also help to train volunteer community health workers, and run inclusive programmes to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities.

At a glance

Total population
  • 161 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Disability rights

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Voices of the Marginalised
  • I thought I would be blind forever. Now I feel peace in my heart.
    Kulsum following her cataract surgery
    Cataract patient Kulsum smiles and embraces Sightsavers' staff member Mosheur.

    How we’re making a difference in Bangladesh

    Nine-year-old Polok smiles with his mother at home after undergoing cataract removal surgery.

    Treating cataracts

    Nine-year-old Polok from Bangladesh had cataracts that severely affected his vision. His cousin contacted Sightsavers on Facebook, and he was referred for sight-saving surgery.
    Read Polok’s story

    Smiling woman, who is a disability rights activist, wearing sunglasses and orange headscarf.

    Disability rights

    Jahanara was born blind and spent the first 27 years of life unable to leave the house. Now she’s a spokesperson empowering people with disabilities: when she talks, people listen.
    Read Jahanara’s story

    Reaching remote areas

    Sightsavers’ Ella Pierce met eight-year-old Suborna, who was in desperate need of a cataract operation, but lived several hours from the nearest city.
    Read Ella’s trip report

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    More from Bangladesh

    Women wait in line for eye screening tests.
    Sightsavers blog

    “We put a special focus on women with disabilities and their rights.”

    On international Women’s Day, Sightsavers' Asma Rashida highlights the additional prejudices women with disabilities face, and the important work of the Right to Health project.

    Sightsavers, March 2020
    Sightsavers Reports

    Claiming rights and restoring sight: Shamima’s story

    Shamima, who is hearing and speech impaired, has developed a unique way to communicate with her close family.

    A little boy smiles after having an eye exam.
    Sightsavers from the field

    January updates: highlights from around the world

    A baby born with cataracts is smiling again following surgery in Zambia, plus stories from India, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

    January 2020
    Deus Turyatemba stands next to an Inclusive Futures poster

    Groundbreaking new programme will enable 2,000 people with disabilities to get better jobs

    The Inclusion Works programme, funded by UK aid and led by Sightsavers, will create job opportunities for more than 2,000 people with disabilities.

    July 2019
    Two surgeons at work in the operating theatre at Mymensingh hospital. They're wearing green scrubs.
    Sightsavers from the field

    The hospital in Bangladesh that’s restoring sight and changing lives

    Robbie Peacock and Ciara Smullen travelled to the northern town of Mymensingh to visit a hospital that is saving the sight of thousands of people a year.

    July 2019
    Two women hold up their index fingers after voting in the 2019 Indian general election.
    Sightsavers from the field

    May updates: highlights from around the world

    News from India, where Sightsavers campaigned to help people with disabilities take part in the recent general election. Plus updates from Mali, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

    May 2019
    A lady smiling outside a centre in Malawi which provides physiotherapy.

    More UK funding announced for disability-inclusive employment initiatives

    The funding, which was announced by UK Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt, aims to address disability inclusion in developing countries.

    July 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
    Ferdousi smiles as she touches her brother's face.

    Bengali TV show shares Sightsavers’ success stories

    The weekly programme, called ‘Shopno Dekhe Chokh’ (‘Eyes See the Dream’), tells the stories of people whose vision has been restored in Bangladesh.

    March 2018
    Three-year-old Nadir from Bangladesh.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Nadir’s story

    Three-year-old Nadir had cataracts in both eyes since birth, which severely affected his vision. But an operation restored his sight and changed his life.

    A group of people riding on an uncovered autorickshaw in Bangladesh.
    Sightsavers from the field

    How you’re helping us restore sight in Bangladesh

    Sightsavers’ Ella Pierce travelled to Bangladesh and met eight-year-old Suborna, who was in desperate need of a cataract operation. This is her journey.

    December 2017
    The leaders of disability self-help groups in Bangladesh pose for a photo.

    New alliance in Bangladesh promotes disability-inclusive development

    The alliance, inaugurated in Dhaka, promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities as part of the country’s implementation of the Global Goals.

    November 2017

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work