Improving access to vital eye treatments is one of the ways that we are working with people and communities to improve health and wellbeing in Afghanistan.

Preventing avoidable blindness

With support from The Fred Hollow’s Foundation, HealthNet TPO has been improving eye screening for children, adults and vulnerable people across nine provinces in Afghanistan. As well as testing and distributing glasses, we support and improve essential eye care treatment through mobile health teams and the Kabul Medical Eye Hospital.

Eye care is an integral part of the primary health system in Afghanistan, yet more than 400,000 people are blind and 1.5 million people are visually impaired. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss representing 60% of all cases. With proper screening, detection and a relatively straightforward 20 minute surgery, visual impairment caused by cataracts can be avoided, yet 92.5% of people living with cataracts are not able to receive treatment due to costs and accessibility. Rural and remote areas are the most restricted from accessing these essential services.

Since 2016, more than 6500 people have received life-changing cataract surgery to restore their sight. More than 336,500 people have had their eyes screened, and 4,600 glasses have been distributed. We have trained more than 500 community health workers so they can recognise, diagnose and treat eye problems in their communities, creating sustainable changes toward ending avoidable blindness in Afghanistan.

Mr. Hadi received cataract surgery to save his sight.

Mr Hadi's story

“I am so grateful to you all for my new sight because I need to take care of my family.”

After suffering from vision loss, Mr Hadi became anxious that he would not be able to continue working and take care of his family. Mr Hadi is 58 and lives in Por-Chaman district, one of the most remote districts in Farah Province. As a farmer, his sight is essential to be able to work, and he would often travel far to neighbouring provinces in order to support his large family of 7. There is an extreme lack of eye healthcare services in Farah province, with no specialist eye-services. Mr Hadi learned about the Medical University Eye Hospital in Kabul which is supported by HealthNet TPO. He was suffering from cataracts, which is where the lens of the eye turns cloudy and opaque, restricting vision.

"I am a poor man; when the doctor checked my eyes and told me that my sight could be significantly improved by surgery, this was a true miracle!"

Just two days after his first visit, he had surgery to successfully remove the cataracts and restore his sight. The operation takes around 20 minutes and can cost as little as $25.

With support from