South Africa

South Africa is home to an enormous blind population and has a severe shortage of ophthalmologists to serve them. In all of South Africa, there are only 324 ophthalmologists, most of who work in built up cities. Countrywide there are only a few fully qualified pediatric ophthalmologists.


To combat the lack of available eye care, we established an office in Cape Town to develop specialized services for children's eye health and to lead the way for a sustainable, comprehensive model for pediatric eye care that is accessible, high quality and affordable. We’ve also partnered with South Africa’s Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to survey one million households within the poorest communities and explore the link between poverty and vision loss.

We are focusing on early intervention with children under the age of six whilst their vision is still developing, improving the detection of of eye problems in young children and fast-tracking treatment and follow-up care. 

Braveman can play with his toys again

June 28, 2017

Braveman is a seven-year-old boy who lives with his parents and grandmother in KwaNyuswa, a semi-rural area just outside Pinetown in South Africa. Braveman was diagnosed with a squint when he was one year old, and although his road to recovery has been long, it hasn’t affected the lively little boy's sense of humor.
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In 2011, we supported the opening of a state-of-the-art pediatric eye care center in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the poorest and most populous provinces – home to 28 percent of the country’s blind children. This center makes KwaZulu-Natal only the second province to have a child-focused eye care facility in the country.

We are working with the Department of Health in Gauteng to strengthen child eye health services. This will be achieved by improving surgical skills and making more equipment available at tertiary care facilities in the province.

As part of our work, we’re also initiating an extensive public awareness campaign in the mainstream and community press highlighting childhood blindness and steps the public can take to against avoidable blindness.

Through the power of film, Orbis Africa hopes to break down barriers to vital medical intervention that could prevent childhood blindness.


We’ve partnered with the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Cape Town, the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and other thought leaders to develop a specialist pediatric fellowship program for African doctors.

And In 2017 we will open the second cataract surgical centre in Gauteng that is equipped and resourced to tackle the significant backlog in adult cataract surgery in the province.

With your continued help and support we can build a lasting eye care legacy in South Africa for generations to come. 


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