With the world’s second largest population, India unfortunately possesses one of the world’s largest populations of visually impaired people. An estimated 63 million people in India are visually impaired, and approximately 8 million of these are blind. Additionally, the divide between the rich and poor continues to increase, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to basic healthcare services — most of whom live either in rural India or in urban slums. To further compound the situation, a majority of ophthalmologists in India live and practice in urban areas.
- We help implement India Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, part of the overall global strategy to combat blindness
- We launched the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), our flagship program in India, established in 2002, to help ensure that India’s children have access to quality eye care for generations to come
- We pursue the goal of developing 50 pediatric ophthalmology centers across India
We opened our permanent office in New Delhi in 2000, and since then, 30 pediatric ophthalmology centers have been established across 17 states — more than halfway to the goal of developing 50 pediatric ophthalmology centers across India.
Through our role in India’s pediatric eye care and advocacy efforts, the Indian government now includes childhood blindness among its health care priorities.
Success in India
- Orbis pioneered the introduction of pediatric ophthalmology services in seven rural districts of India and raised public awareness of how pediatric blindness could be prevented
- We built the first pediatric ophthalmology center in northern India
- We strengthened the concept of a hospital-based corneal retrieval program on a national level, which was instituted in more than a dozen hospitals in India and served as a model for Sandhani Eye Bank in Bangladesh