International Development

The big picture.

  • Around 90% of visually impaired people live in developing countries where problems of malnutrition, poor water quality and sanitation and a lack of health services exist.
  • An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired. Of these, 12 million children are visually impaired due to refractive errors, a condition that could be easily diagnosed and corrected.
  • Almost half of all childhood blindness is preventable or treatable with simple interventions such as vitamin supplements, immunisation and low-cost eye surgery.
  • Myanmar (formerly Burma) has one of the highest blindness rates in the world, suffering ubiquitous low vision in rural areas.
  • Only 200 eye surgeons service Myanmar’s population, which has a current backlog of 600,000 cataract operations. Similar problems exist in Cambodia, Bangladesh and India.

What we're doing.

  • We’re funding programs in four of the countries most in need – Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India.
  • Our eye surgeons are performing over 30,000 sight-saving operations per year across these four countries.
  • A dedicated team of more than 40 Australian eye surgeons and staff self-fund trips to Myanmar to treat 30,000 people each year for conditions such as cataract and glaucoma.
  • In Myanmar alone, donor support has allowed us to establish six eye clinics to date. One of these is already self-sustaining and functioning independently, run by local staff.
  • Each eye care clinic services a catchment of around one million people, 100,000 of whom are needlessly blind.
  • In Cambodia, we are providing funding to the Battambang Ophthalmic Centre (BOC) which is the most prolific provider of corrective eye surgery in the country, performing 25% of all cataract surgeries in the country.

Current Projects

Myanmar Eye Care Program
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Cambodia Eye Care Program
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Vision of Islands
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  • Raised more than $24.5 million for vision initiatives since 2003.
  • Our partnership with ORIA has supported more than 202 eye health programs since inception.
  • Raised more than $9.1 million specifically for vision research.
  • Helped more than 83,000 patients with sight-saving procedures across Asia Pacific since 2005.
  • Screened and treated more than 6,000 Aboriginals across the Kimberley/Pilbara regions since 2010.
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