Our work in Pakistan

Sightsavers began working in Pakistan in 1985, and opened a country office in 1998. Our focus is treating eye conditions and making sure people with disabilities are included in education and work.

A large group of children stand with the the minister of education. They are smiling and many are holding glasses.

Pakistan is the fifth most populated country in the world, yet almost 30 per cent of the population live in poverty.

Recent studies in Pakistan have found that there is an inextricable link between blindness and poverty: the prevalence of total blindness in poor areas was more than three times of that in affluent areas. Studies have also found that four million children in the country have a vision impairment.

Sightsavers aims to ensure everyone can be treated for eye issues. We’ve trained more than 85,000 Lady Health Workers to provide health care in the community for conditions including refractive error and cataracts. We’ve also trained more than 40,000 teachers to screen children in schools.

In collaboration with provincial partners, we’ve established seven paediatric ophthalmology centres, and trained thousands of opthalmologists and surgeons.

Watch the video below to find out more about our eye health work in Pakistan.

At a glance

Total population
  • 219 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Refractive error

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Disability rights
  • School eye screening
  • Education

  • 236,189
    Professionals supported on health short courses
    People examined for eye health conditions
    Teachers supported on training courses

    We also partner with local and national organisations to improve the rights of people with disabilities in the country and make sure they are not excluded from society, work or education.

    Over 20 years Sightsavers has run numerous projects on inclusive education, including training teachers on how to include children with disabilities in the classroom, establishing the first-ever model inclusive technology lab at school and university level and equipping government institutions with accessible IT software and braille books for students with visual impairments.

    In January 2020, Pakistan signed its first ever law which protects the rights of people with disabilities.

    How we’re making a difference in Pakistan

    A girl has her eyes tested.

    School eye screening

    Sometimes a simple pair of glasses can change a child’s life. Sightsavers has been training teachers to screen children for vision problems.

    Read their stories

    A photo of a large group of people, many of them using wheelchairs.

    Disability rights

    Disability rights are high on the UN’s agenda – Country director Munazza Gilani looks at Pakistan’s priorities in the coming years.

    Read Munazza’s blog

    A street in an urban settlement with tents on either side of a wide dirt track.

    Reaching everyone

    Sightsavers’ Guillaume Trotignon visited Pakistan to see whether people living in urban slums in Lahore are able to get eye treatment.

    Read Guillaume’s blog

    Your donation could help to protect sight


    More from Pakistan

    A close-up of a plastic vial containing the flies that transmit river blindness.

    Three Sightsavers nominees win IAPB awards

    The accolades, from the the International Association and Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), recognise and celebrate young and upcoming staff and volunteers within the eye health sector.

    October 2020
    A boy washes his face at a well.
    Sightsavers from the field

    July updates: highlights from around the world

    A young boy has his sight restored in Nigeria, plus news from Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Ghana.

    July 2020
    A man examines the eyesight of a young boy who uses a wheelchair.
    Sightsavers blog

    Great progress, but not for all: cataract surgical rate in Pakistan

    Cataract surgical rate only measures quantity of services, and quality remains neglected. This raises questions that need addressing.

    Itfaq Khaliq Khan, June 2020
    two volunteers ride motorbikes on a dirt road.
    Sightsavers from the field

    March updates: highlights from around the world

    Illustrations are helping researchers understand NTDs in Nigeria, plus news from Mozambique, Pakistan, India and the UK.

    March 2020
    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
    Clécio smiles as he stands in front of some homes.
    Sightsavers from the field

    February updates: highlights from around the world

    A river blindness mapping survey is producing positive results in Mozambique, plus news from Guinea-Bissau, Pakistan and Burkina Faso.

    February 2020
    A boy wearing glasses smiling in the classroom.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Stories from the SHIP eye health project in Pakistan

    Sightsavers’ eye health screening project in Pakistan is helping children see and learn all over the country. We listen to stories of some of the children we have helped.

    January 2020
    A group of people with disabilities raise their hands.

    Pakistan’s first-ever Disability Rights Act becomes law

    The legislation, approved on 10 January, will make it illegal to discriminate or exclude people on the basis of disability.

    January 2020
    A woman wearing a black hijab smiles and walks along a brick-lined street.
    Sightsavers blog

    A journey, not a destination: eye health integration in Pakistan

    Following simple steps can help decision-makers and donors to improve the system further, helping millions of people in need of eye care services in rural areas.

    Itfaq Khaliq Khan, November 2019
    Three women posing together with smiles.
    Sightsavers from the field

    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
    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
    A photo of a large group of people, many of them using wheelchairs.
    Sightsavers blog

    How Pakistan is keeping disability inclusion on the SDG agenda

    Over two years, Sightsavers in Pakistan worked with strategic stakeholders and national partners to develop a voluntary national review report that focused on disability.

    Munazza Gillani, July 2019

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work