Nearly 750,000 people in Bangladesh are blind and more than six million people are living with visual impairment. Cataract, refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and corneal scarring are among the leading causes of avoidable blindness for people aged 50 years and older. 


Bangladesh is a developing country and with a population of more than 164 million people. It is the eighth-most populous country in the world.

 In Bangladesh, almost 1.3 million children live with low vision because of refractive error, the second largest cause of visual impairment in the country.   

More than 10 million people have diabetes, with an estimated 25% at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to irreversible blindness. 

The number of people with diabetes is expected to double in Bangladesh by 2030. Although more than 87% of blindness in Bangladesh is avoidable for people aged 50 years and older, tackling the causes of avoidable blindness remains a challenge because of poverty and the lack of access to medical services.   
  • 75.8% of blindness in Bangladesh is caused by cataract
  • 750,000 people are blind
  • More than 6 million people have visual impairment
  • 75.8% of blindness in Bangladesh is caused by cataract
  • Nearly 1.3 million children live with low vision due to refractive errors
  • Nearly 1.85 million people are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy
The Fred Hollows Foundation has been working in Bangladesh since 2008. The Foundation works closely with government agencies and partners to restore the sight of Bangladeshis.

The Bangladesh program receives partial support from the Australian Government throught the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

The Foundation focuses on eliminating avoidable blindness caused by cataract, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy. We train medical staff, renovate facilities, advocate for the integration of eye health care and diabetes care into mainstream health and raise public awareness. 

The Foundation was the first eye health organisation to arrive in Cox’s Bazar to deliver eye care services to the Rohingya refugees and restore sight to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.


By working with our partners, The Fred Hollows Foundation achieved a lot in 2019: 

 Helping people see:
  • 446,984 people screened
  • 20,982 eye operations and treatments performed including: 20,974 cataract operations
  • 8 diabetic retinopathy treatments 
  • 7,605 pairs of glasses distributed

Investing in people:

  • 810 people trained including: 
  • 7 surgeons
  •  24 clinic support staff
  • 779 community health workers
  • 29,561 community members educated in eye health

Equipment and Technology

  • 15 medical facilities renovated 
  • 16 medical facilities equipped.