Visual impairment is a global public health problem. Recent estimates from WHO suggest that 253 million people suffer from visual impairment, of whom 36 million are completely blind. Cataract and uncorrected refractive errors are the leading causes of visual impairment in most parts of the developing world, including India. According to the National Programme for the Control of Blindness (NPCB), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India Survey on Blindness (2006-2007) these two causes constitute about 81% blindness in the age group 50 years and above.
With support from Standard Chartered Bank under the “Seeing is Believing” initiative, Sightsavers is strengthening eye care services in the Sundarbans region of West Bengal State in Eastern India. The objective of the five-year project is to contribute to the elimination of avoidable blindness in the area. In order to assess the success of the Sundarbans Eye Health Service Strengthening Project, Sightsavers conducted surveys to investigate eye health status and health seeking behaviour at both the beginning and end of the projects to assess any changes that may have taken place. This report describes the results of the endline study.