Childhood Blindness

Examining and treating children requires special skills and calls for specific training, knowledge and equipment.

The problem

Since children constitute only 3% of the world’s blind population, childhood blindness has not been given its due importance as compared to other causes of blindness and visual impairment. However, if childhood blindness is measured in blind-person-years it is second only to cataract blindness.

The Challenge

Examining and treating children requires special skills and calls for specific training, knowledge and equipment.

In 2000, there were only four comprehensive tertiary pediatric eye care centers in India. At that time, with a population of 1 billion, India needed 100 Children’s Eye Centers (CEC) as per the WHO guidelines of one center per 10 million population.

This meant we had to build the infrastructure for service delivery including equipping the facilities and supporting community work, along with development of all cadres of human resources required.

33 Children's eye centers across 18 states

Orbis India launched its flagship program, India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), in 2002 with an aim to build India’s capacity for pediatric eye care.

As part of ICBI, Children’s Eye Centers (CECs) were established across the country to ensure that children receive timely access to quality eye care.

Today we have established 32 CECs across 17 states in India. The 33rd center is being developed in Bihar, the state's first such center. This remains the largest national network of CECs in the world and it reaches over a million children every year.

Through the invaluable support of our partner hospitals, we are reaching children in need of care and continue to extend the scope of this network.

With almost two decades of contribution in this field, Orbis has become a trusted name among the ophthalmic fraternity and community at large in their efforts to improve child eye health.

Let's fight childhood blindness together

India is a large country with its own set of complexities and diverse needs. The task of implementing solutions which are equally affordable, accessible, and acceptable to all is a formidable challenge. We are certain that with collective effort and support, we can prevent children from going needlessly blind. Together, we can give every child the right to quality eye care — and the right to a happy and safe childhood.