The rate of blindness and low-vision in Papua New Guinea is the highest in the Pacific. A national survey carried out in 2017 found an estimated 5.6 per cent of adults aged over 50 were blind, and two out of every three people with refractive error did not have the right glasses. The most common cause of blindness and visual impairment is still cataracts.
Due to low levels of education and literacy, and restricted communication networks, there's a widespread lack of understanding about health problems and the benefits of health-care and medical treatments. Many people don’t realise they have an eye problem, or that they can get treatment.
For the past 11 years we've worked with local eye care and health organisations, the National Department of Health, and provincial health authorities to tackle avoidable blindness.
Papua New Guinea should have at least 80 eye doctors, yet there are only 11, we continue to advocate for more. In 2007 we set up eye nurse training in partnership with Divine Word University, with 86 graduates to date.
Since 2007 we've managed the Modilon Eye Clinic at Modilon General Hospital in the Madang Province. The clinic provides comprehensive eye care services including diabetic eye care and surgery. We also provide eye care services to rural populations through regular outreaches.