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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 group of visually impaired girls wearing Sightsavers tracksuits, laughing.

    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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    Sightsavers’ Sarah Muddle visited Bhopal in India to see how our eye care projects are helping slum communities devastated by an industrial tragedy in 1984.

    Sandeep Kumar, a truck driver from India, stands in front of his truck.
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    Helping India’s truck drivers to see clearly

    In India, five million truck drivers transport two thirds of the nation’s cargo. Yet many don’t have the time or money to get their eyes checked regularly.

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