Saving sight

Smiling Serkie with her husband and child wearing an eye-patch after surgery for trachoma.

Our impact last year

  • 1.76m people accessed eye-related medical services
  • 125k cataracts surgeries to restore sight

It is estimated that 75% of all blindness is avoidable. That means 3/4 people who are blind don’t need to be.

Put simply, millions of people around the world are needlessly blind because they can’t get simple surgery or treatment that could save their sight. And too often, if you live in a poor community, going blind means losing your chance to go to school, earn a living or live independently.

CBM works across the world’s poorest countries to prevent avoidable blindness and restore sight.

Blindness and visual impairment around the world

  • 43 million people around the world are blind and 90% of people with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Around half of all blindness is caused by cataract, where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts can be treated with simple surgery, which costs as little as £24 for an adult or £95 for a child.
  • Other conditions that can cause blindness such as glaucoma, retinal diseases, trachoma and Vitamin A deficiency occur frequently in the developing world.
  • Two-thirds of blind people are women. In wealthier countries this is because women live longer than men; in developing countries, it is because women are less likely to get the healthcare they need.

How we help

CBM saves sight in the poorest places of the world by:

  • Treating blinding diseases like river blindness and trachoma. Medicines to treat these diseases can cost as little as 16p.
  • Enabling adults and children to access sight-restoring cataract surgery, including through outreach camps in remote places far from the nearest eye hospital.
  • Training specialist doctors, nurses and other health workers to identify and treat eye conditions, and equipping hospital eye departments.
  • Supporting screening programmes that find people who need help and enable them to access treatment.
  • Supporting Governments in countries where we work to improve eye health services for the long-term.
  • Providing glasses and low vision devices to people who are visually impaired.

In action

A male doctor using ophthalmic equipment to check a young girl's eyes

Light up Lives: Improving access to eye health services in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is facing a crisis of avoidable blindness…

Read more
Male doctor using ophthalmic equipment to check a young girl's eyes

See the Way: Improving access to eye health services in Malawi

Thousands of people in Malawi are living with avoidable blindness…

Read more


Gyles Brandreth wearing a CBM jumper.
5th Dec 2023

Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth supports our Christmas Miracles appeal

Read full story


Sarah Bennington, wearing a red t shirt meets with Patricia and her family
25th Jan 2024

Light Up Lives: Stories of faith from Zimbabwe

Read full story

Keep up to date! Sign up to our e-news here