Last Updated:  21/09/2022

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Project Pitch By: Operation Eyesight India


Proposed Project Title

Provide 5000 cataract surgical services for senior citizens in 7 states of intervention areas


Thematic Area

Eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, promoting health care, sanitation & safe drinking water

Sub Thematic Area

Hospital infrastructure, medical camps, surgeries, healthcare awareness & rehabilitation

Project Synopsis

India is home to the world

Overview of the Proposed Project

Estimated Budget
INR 1.0 Cr - INR 5.0 Cr
Proposed Location
Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha

Key Project Partners
Gram Panchayat

Project Status


Beneficiary Type (Primary): General
Beneficiary Type (Secondary): Elderly care
Estimated No. of Beneficiaries: 3000 - 10000 Individuals
Status of Baseline Survey: Already Done

Proposed Project Description

The Issue: In 2020, an estimated 596 million people had distance vision impairment worldwide, of whom 43 million were blind. Another 510 million people had uncorrected near vision impairment, simply because of not having reading spectacles. A large proportion of those affected (90%), live in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, encouragingly, more than 90% of people with vision impairment have a preventable or treatable cause with existing highly cost-effective interventions.

Although high-quality data for global economic estimates are scarce, particularly for LMICs, conservative assessments based on the latest prevalence figures for 2020 suggest that annual global productivity loss from vision impairment is approximately US$410·7 billion purchasing power parity.

India is home to the world’s largest blind population. Of the total blind people across the globe approximately 18 million live in India. Even worse, over 90% of these people lost their sight due to avoidable reasons. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cataract is the major cause of blindness across the globe and predominantly seen in populations above 50 years. In India too, cataract is the major cause of blindness (66.2%), severe visual impairment (80.7%) and moderate visual impairment (70.2%). Study suggests that 30-92% of the cataract patients remain blind to various reasons like lack of accessibility, affordability, and adequate knowledge.

The addition of nearly 3.8 million new cataract patients every year. further increases the burden of Cataract backlog and is also responsible for increasing the socioeconomic burden on the families and the nation. Increasing age, lower socio-economic status and lack of awareness to access cataract surgery are attributed to the growing prevalence of cataracts in India.

Operation Eyesight India is a non-governmental organization based in Hyderabad. It is part of Operation Eyesight Universal, a Canada-based organization that has been working in India since 1963 to prevent blindness and restore sight. In India, we are currently working with 35 partner hospitals (including government health departments and eminent universities) across 18 states, covering over 90 underserved districts. We have established 144 vision centers to date and declared over 1,071 villages as avoidable blindness-free. In 2021 through our initiatives, nearly 700,000 people received a comprehensive eye examination, nearly 60,000 patients received sight-saving surgeries and over 100,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses were dispensed.

However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown imposed across the country, India came to a standstill in terms of personal and professional lives. The pandemic has acutely impacted the livelihood of the people, especially those of the informal sector with a risk of falling into poverty leading to hunger. Similarly, it has posed unprecedented challenges in provisioning quality eye care services and financial sustainability of the charitable eye hospitals. The pandemic led restrictions in the country suspended most of the eye care services in India for more than 12 months in the last two years further the patient footfall to hospitals have also reduced significantly in the wake of pandemic which ultimately resulted in a surge in untreated cataract cases.

There is extensive evidence showing that improving eye health contributes directly and indirectly to achieving many Sustainable Development Goals, including reducing poverty and improving work productivity, general and mental health, and education and equity. Improving eye health is a practical and cost-effective way of unlocking human potential. Eye health needs to be reframed as an enabling, cross-cutting issue within the sustainable development framework.

For many years, Operation Eyesight has been working to bring quality, affordable eye health care services closer to communities. Our work is critical now more than ever.

Our Approach to address the Number of Cataract cases

Operation Eyesight and our partners will address the cataract backlog using our community-based approach. Community health workers, trained by Operation Eyesight, will conduct door-to-door eye screenings in the target areas. Patients identified will be referred to a nearby vision center or to one of Operation Eyesight’s partner hospitals. We’ll ensure that patients receive transportation to and from the hospital, and that they receive regular pre- and post-follow up care to ensure the timeliness and quality of their treatment. In addition, we’ll monitor and evaluate the project activities and provide our generous donors with an update.


We’re currently focusing our efforts on seven High Focus States (Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha in the North; and Assam in the North-East) where there is a high prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among people aged 50 and above. Across these states, a total of 5,000 patients living in our program areas that are in need of cataract surgery but cannot afford the high cost of the procedure. Of these, nearly 80 per cent may go permanently blind if their treatment continues to be delayed.

Goal: Promote cataract blindness backlog-free villages/communities in selected areas

Objective: Provide cataract surgical services for senior citizens in need in the intervention areas.

Target beneficiaries: 5000 cataract surgical services for senior citizens in 7 states of intervention areas

Impact: The sight-saving surgery will clear the backlog of cataract in 5,000 patients across seven High Focus States of India. With their vision restored, individuals will no longer have to depend on their family members for support. They’ll have the opportunity to work or help care for their families, enjoy their favorite activities and watch their grandchildren grow up. More importantly, seniors won’t be isolated at home anymore; they’ll be able to participate in and contribute to their family and community. Their overall health and well-being will improve, and their entire family and community will be stronger as a result. 

The support will also help the partner hospitals to kickstart the provision of free surgeries, which will increase the patient flow to the base hospitals in turn adding to the sustainability of the partner hospital.



Salient Features

  1. Address the cataract backlog using our community-based approach
  2. Training and Capacity Building of community health workers and empowering communities on eye health
  3. Free cataract surgery services for senior citizens

About Operation Eyesight India

Operation Eyesight India(OEI) is a NGO based in Hyderabad. It is part of Operation Eyesight Universal- a Canadian organization working with a mission “To prevent blindness and restore sight”. Founded in 1963 to address the backlog of cataract surgeries in India, we now have comprehensive eye health programs in eight countries- India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Liberia. 

When people suffer from poor eye health, their quality of life is diminished, and the cycle of poverty is perpetuated. Some of the common eye issues include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and uncorrected refractive error. As per the WHO –India contributes 21% of the world's blind population and 22% of the world's visually impaired population.  But sadly, upto 90% of these people are suffering from avoidable blindness, which means their condition can be treated or could have been prevented. OEI is addressing in eliminating the unaddressed disability, “blindness”. We partner with local governments and hospitals to ensure quality eye health care services are made available, accessible and affordable to those in need along with quality. In India, we are working with 35 partner hospitals, across 90 districts within 17 states, established 200 Vision Centers/Points and declared over 1,072 villages as avoidable blindness-free.



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