Operation Eyesight Universal

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Operation Eyesight Universal is a Canada-based international development organisation, founded in 1963. It works to prevent avoidable blindness and to cure blindness that is treatable. This work is done through eye care services and community development activities in India and sub-Saharan African nations such as Ghana, Kenya and Zambia.


For all the world to see is Operation Eyesight Universal's vision. The organisation focuses on preventing avoidable blindness and on treating blindness and low vision when it is correctable. It cooperates with governments, local communities and health care partners to put in place comprehensive, high quality eye care programs and services that are self-sustaining.[1] This is achieved through private donations and the support of the public. The organisation emphasises capacity-building and sustainability by supplying local medical professionals with the training, equipment and facilities they need to help their own people. It addresses specific problems in each locale as well as the root causes of blindness.

The organisation summarised its mission in its 2009 report to donors.

"Operation Eyesight Universal is committed to helping its indigenous medical partners build the comprehensive, high quality infrastructure and programs necessary to meet the present and future eye care needs of their own people. These partners are encouraged to analyze their needs and develop plans of action. Financial donors make it possible to provide the essential resources to develop or improve services."[2]


Dr Ben Gullison, a Canadian physician, inspired the creation of "Operation Eyesight Universal" in 1963, in Calgary, Alberta. Gullison had been working in Sompeta, in east India. He returned to Canada to seek funding to reduce the prevalence of cataract. He met Arthur Jenkyns, a Calgary businessman, who founded Operation Eyesight to support Dr. Ben's mission to eradicate avoidable blindness. [3]


Over 285 million people in the world are visually impaired. 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. 80 percent of blindness is preventable or curable. Beyond this, approximately 153 million people are visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive errors. 90% of visual impairment occurs in the developing world.[4]


International programs and projects[edit]

Operation Eyesight Universal is active in India and in the African nations of Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Its work includes:

  • Primary eye care in Africa and India.
  • SAFE strategy in Kenya and Zambia. This combats trachoma through strategies including surgery, antibiotics, health education and sanitation enhancements such as water wells and latrines.
  • Community development in slum and tribal communities in India.
  • Investment with partner hospitals.

Partner Organizations[edit]


  1. ^ "Strategic Plan 2010 and Beyond". Operation Eyesight Universal. 2009. page 1.
  2. ^ ”Report to Donors 2009”. Operation Eyesight Universal. 2010. page 2.
  3. ^ Hankins, Gerald W. “The Flaming Arrow”. January 1994. ISBN 978-0-9698955-0-3.
  4. ^ ”Visual Impairment and blindness. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/ accessed April 2015

External links[edit]