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Our work in 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

    An eye health worker stood infront of a Keep Sight banner holds an eye examining instrument to her eye.
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    March 2020
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    Sunetra Sarker joins Sightsavers in India to visit eye screenings of truck drivers

    Award-winning actress Sunetra Sarker visited long-distance truckers in India to understand how poor eyesight might be affecting their lives and work.

    February 2020
    Clive Jones stands next to a sign.
    Sightsavers blog

    Improving eye health and saving lives in India

    Sightsavers’ chair, Sir Clive Jones, visited India to see how a Sightsavers programme is saving lives on the roads by screening truck drivers for vision problems.

    Sightsavers, February 2020
    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
    Usman smiles after receiving eye surgery.
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    November updates: highlights from around the world

    In Nigeria, a lymphatic filariasis patient is planning to marry his partner after receiving treatment to stop his pain. Plus news from Senegal, Zambia and India.

    November 2019
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    How Sightsavers celebrated World Sight Day

    To mark World Sight Day 2019 on 10 October, Sightsavers country offices celebrated by highlighting the need to provide good-quality eye care to everyone.

    October 2019
    An eye health worker talking to a group of women about eye care
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    Sightsavers and partners help to halve blindness cases in remote Indian Sundarbans

    Before the Sightsavers eye health programme in the Sundarbans started, one in every 40 people over the age of 50 in the region was blind. Today, that number has dropped to one in 80.

    October 2019
    A group of women walk underneath a Sightsavers sign which reads: Screening camp.
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    Halving blindness in the remote Sundarbans

    In this rural mangrove region of eastern India, one in 50 people used to be blind. But a Sightsavers project has transformed eye health in the area, changing thousands of lives.

    October 2019
    A women stands outside her home.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Eye care for everyone in India

    Sightsavers India is partnering with hospitals, tapping into existing eye care systems and creating new ones to provide affordable eye care for people living in some of the poorest areas of the country.

    October 2019
    A truck driver sits in his truck.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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
    Teachers in Pakistan attend training to learn how to check their students' eyes.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work