Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries, with half its population living below the poverty line. Lack of public health care resources, poor nutrition and disease contribute to high rates of blindness. Nearly 800,000 blind people live in
Bangladesh, 40,000 of them being children under the age of 15.Some 750,000 adults over age 30 are blind, with nearly 80 percent suffering from cataract. Childhood blindness is also a pressing problem in Bangladesh, with approximately 40,000 children under the age of 16 who are blind. Of the country’s 149 million people, a majority live in rural areas, which are far from the nearest vision clinic.
|Humaria, 9, was poked in the
eye with a needle, shattering
her lens. At CEITC, an ORBIS
partner, a doctor removed the
damaged lens and implant-
ed an artificial one, restoring
The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital visited Bangladesh for the first time in 1985. ORBIS opened an office in
Bangladesh in 1999.
ORBIS’s work in
Bangladesh focuses on:
- Children’s eye care services
- Cataract and refractive error, such as nearsightedness
- Corneal blindness and eye banking
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Human resource development
- Advocating for national blindness prevention strategies
In 2011, ORBIS made considerable progress in Bangladesh through 4 ORBIS projects:
- More than 700 doctors and other eye care staff received training
- Over 316,000 adults and children received eye examinations/screenings
- More than 269,000 adults and children received ophthalmic or medical treatments
- Over 15,000 eye surgeries/lasers were performed
To date, ORBIS has:
- Successfully launched several pediatric ophthalmology centers in
- Supported the establishment of the country’s first autonomous eye bank
- Targeted efforts in some of the most isolated and underserved areas
ORBIS "firsts" in Bangladesh
ORBIS has achieved numerous “firsts” regarding eye care in
Cornea transplant recipient Monica Islam can
now see well enough to cook and take a job.
Hospital training program introduced ocular microsurgery to
- ORBIS equipped the country’s first public pediatric eye care center.
- ORBIS established
Bangladesh's first rural vision centers, introducing pediatric ophthalmology services to villagers in remote communities.
- ORBIS helped build the capacity of Sandhani Eye Bank --- now Bangladesh's most active, successful eye bank.
- ORBIS initiated
Bangladesh's first training programs for optometrists and opticians.
- In March 2007, ORBIS organized the first International Symposium and Workshop on Clinical Engineering in
Bangladesh. This meeting resulted in the establishment of the nation’s first Biomedical and Clinical Engineering Society.
- ORBIS introduced Cyber-Sight, ORBIS’s telemedicine initiative, to provide worldwide, Internet-based ophthalmic patient consultation for free to any qualified partner in
- Bangladeshi doctors received training on virtual reality surgery simulators for the first time during
- Through ORBIS, Bangladeshi ophthalmologists can now receive continuing medical education credit through the
Academy of Ophthalmology for online work completed by Cyber-Sight partners and for virtual reality surgeries conducted on surgical simulators.
*Blindness is defined as visual acuity of less than 3/60 or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 10 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.
** Low vision is defined as visual acuity of less than 6/18 but equal to or better than 3/60, or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 20 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.