According to Cambodia’s National Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) conducted in 2019, the prevalence of blindness among Cambodia’s general population is estimated at 0.37%. This percentage increases to 2.5% among people age above 50 and up to 92% of the cases are avoidable.


Cataract was identified as the leading cause of avoidable blindness in Cambodia and the cataract backlog has been increasing over the past 10 years. The RAAB also revealed that uncorrected refractive error is the second major cause of moderate visual impairment (17.5%) and the main cause of early visual impairment (61.2%). 

Eye health services remain unaffordable and inaccessible to those most in need. In 2019, a review of Cambodia’s National Strategic Plan on Blindness Prevention and Control showed that only 33% of the 125 national, provincial and district-based referral hospitals were able to deliver eye health services. 

 The number of eye health workforce in Cambodia also lags considerably behind the WHO recommended ratio.   

In addition, the report also noted the ongoing challenge of ensuring equitable distribution of eye health human resources between provinces and cities. Encouraging ophthalmologists to work in rural areas where the need is greatest is another challenge.


The Foundation works with government partners on efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness in Cambodia.

These partners include the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the National Program for Eye Health, the University of Health Sciences and other NGOs to promote eye health services in Cambodia.

The Cambodia program also receives support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

The Foundation continues to focus on health system strengthening in leadership and governance, health financing, and workforce development. 


Through The Foundation supported training programs:

  • 17 ophthalmology residents and 41 ophthalmic nurse students graduated. 

Advocacy efforts contributed to considerable improvement in eye health workforce distribution. 

The results:

  • An additional 13 graduate ophthalmologists have been employed by various government and NGO hospitals in 2019, with six employed by provincial hospitals. 

Gender equity and disability inclusion:

  • Women accounted for more than half (6,987 of 10,560) of people ( who participated in various gender and eye health awareness raising activities. As well, 34 people with a disability participated.
  • Women comprised more than half (335 of 614) of people who received eye screening services during World Sight Day, with 35 referred for cataract surgery. As well, 31 people with a disability were screened with two accessing cataract surgery.


Helping people see:

  • 45,352 people screened
  • 6,465 eye operations and treatments performed including:
  • 4,268 cataract operations
  • 2,197 other sight saving or improving interventions
Investing in people:
  • 701 people trained including:
  • 135 community health workers
  • 85,271 community members educated in eye health

Equipment and Technology

  • 3 training facilities equipped

This is the moment a mother sees her baby for the first time

Imagine being unable to see your baby from the time they were born. That was the case for Thol, a Cambodian mother of four children. Watch this special 'Fred moment' as Thol sees her children again after sight-saving surgery.