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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

    Your donation could help to protect sight

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    More from India

    A student covers one eye during an eye test at a school in India.
    Sightsavers Reports

    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.

    A group of trachoma surgeons in Zambia wearing scrubs and smiling.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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
    sightsavers_news

    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
    A school student in Zambia stands in front of a mural depicting superhero characters from Sightsavers' Super School of 5 programme.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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
    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 volunteer in Cote d'Ivoire learns how to spot trachoma by examining a child's eyes.
    Sightsavers from the field

    February updates: highlights from around the world

    An update from Sightsavers’ India office, which has won several high-profile awards for its NGO work. Plus news from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

    February 2019
    Nine year old Sonali smiles to camera
    Sightsavers blog

    We’re making huge progress on avoidable blindness, but we still have work to do

    Sightsavers’ Charity Dandak reflects on our achievements through the Seeing is Believing programme, and highlights the challenges we still face to tackle avoidable blindness.

    Charity Dandak, October 2018
    Hula wears her new glasses and reads from a sheet of paper.
    Sightsavers from the field

    August highlights: updates from around the world

    The latest from Kenya, where Sightsavers staff have been carrying out eye screenings in a refugee camp in Turkana. Plus news from India and Nigeria.

    August 2018
    Anwar, who has a prosthetic leg, running alongside other people with disabilities.
    Sightsavers from the field

    June highlights: updates from around the world

    A round-up of the latest work that your donations help to support. Featuring news from India, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Nigeria.

    June 2018
    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
    Health worker Dr Anselmo is interviewed for the TV advert.
    Sightsavers from the field

    March highlights: updates from around the world

    Including news from Liberia, where Sightsavers has reopened an eye clinic that has been closed for two years. Plus updates from Senegal, Malawi and more.

    March 2018
    The Sightsavers team on stage at the HCL ceremony.
    sightsavers_news

    Sightsavers India wins prestigious award for its inclusive education programme

    More than 3,300 NGOs applied for the HCL Grant, which supports organisations that help to transform rural India through sustainable development.

    March 2018

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work