Nearly 600,000 people in Afghanistan are blind and 1.5 million people are living with some form of visual impairment.

Cataract remains the leading cause of avoidable blindness, representing 60% of all cases of vision loss. Other causes include refractive error, trachoma, glaucoma, and trauma. 

Although more than 90% of blindness is avoidable for people in Afghanistan, many people can’t access the treatment they need. Vulnerable people face barriers to access eye health services.   
  • 36.8% of all blindness in Afghanistan is caused by cataract

  • More than 600,000 people are blind

  • More than 1.5 million people have visual impairment 

  • Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in Afghanistan

  • 8 districts in Afghanistan were identified as suspected trachoma endemic areas

These barriers include workforce shortages, poor infrastructure, long distances, lack of transport, financial constraints, security, and lack of awareness.

Only nine provinces  have an established provincial eye health care centre, leaving up to 74% of provinces without access to eye care centres. As a result, up to 200,000 patients are waiting to receive cataract surgery.   

Since 2006, The Fred Hollows Foundation has been restoring sight in Afghanistan. The Foundation has screened more 700,000 people and performed more than 50,000 eye operations and treatments over the past 10 years. 

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In 2019 The Foundation and its partners made great progress in key strategic areas: 

 Helping people see:
  • 98,962 people screened
  • 2,895 cataract operations
  • 1,784 pairs of glasses distributed

Investing in people

  • 129 teachers trained

Equipment and Technology

  • 115 schools equipped