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India

More than 8 million people in India are blind, and millions more have eye conditions such as cataracts. Our work in the country focuses on providing good-quality eye care and fighting for the rights of people with disabilities.

Rukmani has pre-surgery tests at Sewa Sadan Hospital, Bhopal, India

Sightsavers has worked in India since 1966, treating people with eye conditions and bringing eye health services to the most remote areas of the country.

In the past 50 years we have also educated, counselled, trained and rehabilitated people who are blind or visually impaired, many of whom live in the poorest areas.

Despite the nation’s recent advances, a significant proportion of the population has little access to essential health services. This is why our work in the country remains so important.

In 2015, our work in India was streamlined to focus on seven national programmes. Our three eye health programmes cover schools, urban areas and rural settlements, to deliver good-quality eye care to everyone who needs it. Our low vision programme aims to diagnose and treat people with cataracts and other eye conditions, while our truckers programme offers eye checks and treatment to India’s five million truck drivers.

Finally, our inclusive education and social inclusion programmes make sure that people who are blind or have other disabilities are able to go to school, earn a living and take part fully in society.

At a glance

Total population
  • 1.3 billion

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Disability rights

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Inclusive eye health
  • Truckers’ eye health
  • People born with a disability are often considered a burden. I want to help them understand they can live a full life.
    Bhagirath, disability advocate
    Bhagirath is now a DPO leader.

    How we’re making a difference in India

    A young group of visually impaired Judo players laughing in Sightsavers' tracksuits.

    Disability rights

    We’re teaching judo to girls with visual impairments to empower them and help them feel safer when they’re out on their own in public.
    Read their story

    A bus from the Sewa Sadan Hospital sits on a muddy road in Bhopal.

    Eye care for all

    Sightsavers’ Sarah Muddle visited Bhopal to see how our eye care projects are helping communities devastated by tragedy in 1984.
    Read Sarah’s story

    Sandeep Kumar, a truck driver from India, stands in front of his truck.

    Truckers’ programme

    Many of India’s five million truck drivers don’t have time or money for eye checks, so Sightsavers makes sure they get the help they need.
    Read about the project

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    More from India

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    October 2019
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    October 2019
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    Roadside eye care: helping Indian truckers stay safe behind the wheel

    Sightsavers' Kate McCoy spent three days at a noisy roadside truck stop to see how Sightsavers is helping truck drivers to get the vital eye treatment they need.

    October 2019
    Sarita Choure at the judo championships.
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    September updates: highlights from around the world

    News from India, featuring a Sightsavers-supported judoka who won a bronze medal at a Commonwealth competition. Plus the latest from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia.

    September 2019
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    August updates: highlights from around the world

    A round-up of the latest work that your donations help to support, including news from Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan and India.

    August 2019
    A student covers one eye during an eye test at a school in India.
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    How we’re training teachers to spot blinding eye conditions

    Mr Aahiswar is head teacher at Rangai Middle School in central India. He has been trained to screen students for vision problems so children can get the life-changing help they need.

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    July updates: highlights from around the world

    News from Zambia, where surgeons are being trained to operate on trachoma patients. Plus updates from Burkina Faso, India and Senegal.

    July 2019
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    Sightsavers India launches fellowship programme for young ophthalmologists

    The programme will take 10 trainees through a course of mentorship and practical work, to enable them to improve their skills and give them a taste of rural eye health work in India.

    July 2019
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    June updates: highlights from around the world

    News from Zambia, where Sightsavers’ Super School of 5 programme is teaching thousands of school students about hygiene. Plus updates from Benin, Kenya, Zimbabwe and more.

    July 2019
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    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

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    Where we work