Community Health Worker conducting torch light examination to screen for eye conditions
For 60 years, Operation Eyesight has been partnering with communities across India to prevent blindness and restore sight.
Of the 43 million people worldwide who are blind, one per cent live in India, making the country home to the highest population of people living with blindness globally. Sadly, 80 per cent of Indians with blindness are blind because they are unable to access eye care services.
Today, we are working in communities in more than 80 districts across 17 states, bringing quality and affordable eye health care to communities that need it most.
In 2022, we screened more than one million Indians for eye conditions and performed nearly 114,000 sight-saving eye surgeries. This was made possible through our team of local health workers in the community, as well as our partnership with 36 local hospitals and 148 vision centres.
Through our partnership with the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, we have also established 174 advanced vision points across India.
Together, we declared 30 villages avoidable blindness-free in 2022 – that is free of untreated and undiagnosed vision loss.
In India, we are focused on five key areas:
- Community Eye Health – By establishing local vision centres in the community and recruiting and training female community health workers to conduct door-to-door eye health screening, we are connecting patients and families with their local health system and empowering entire communities to take ownership of their own eye health. Our school eye health programs are another important public health intervention aimed at identifying and treating eye conditions in children.
- Disease Control – This includes strategies aimed at preventing, diagnosing and treating eye diseases such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy, Retinopathy of Prematurity and eye cancers. These strategies include early diagnosis and treatment, such as disease screening programs, and infection prevention and control, such as hygiene protocols.
- Hospital Strengthening – By supporting quality improvement activities, strategic planning processes and staff training, and by investing in equipment and infrastructure, we are empowering local health systems to deliver eye health care that is high quality, sustainable and comprehensive.
- Research & Advocacy – By understanding trends in eye health-seeking behaviour, eye care programs can be designed to be more accessible, acceptable and effective in delivering services to the community. We are also contributing to a growing body of data, knowledge and research that helps us better understand the communities we work alongside.
- Integrating Primary Eye Care – Through training healthcare personnel and establishing referral linkages between healthcare facilities, we are helping make eye health care a standard part of India’s healthcare system as well as helping communities take ownership of their eye health.