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 2016, Pakistan became the first country in the world to localise the Sustainable Development Goals, see how the implementation work is progressing [pdf].

    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

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    More from Pakistan

    A man wearing sunglasses smiles with his two happy grandchildren.
    Sightsavers Reports

    “Now I can see again, I can make money to support my family”

    Father and grandfather Sardar from Pakistan is the main breadwinner for his family. But his children and grandchildren faced an uncertain future when he began to develop cataracts.

    A woman in Karachi, Pakistan having a consultation on diabetic retinopathy.
    Sightsavers blog

    Diabetic retinopathy: a growing challenge in Pakistan

    Pakistan is on the brink of a diabetes epidemic, and Sightsavers has spent the past decade working to combat diabetes-related blindness in the country. Here's what we've learned.

    Sightsavers, June 2021
    A girl smiles as she has her eyes tested.
    Sightsavers from the field

    May update: highlights from around the world

    In Pakistan, teachers have given insights into their experiences of vision screening in schools. Plus updates from Senegal, Mozambique and Nigeria.

    May 2021
    Children in a line.
    Sightsavers from the field

    How one project touched 34 million lives

    As the 17-year-long Seeing is Believing project comes to an end, Imran Khan goes behind the scenes to reveal why it has made such an impact.

    December 2020
    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

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work