Where we work


Samoa is a naturally beautiful country but is isolated and remote, making it hard to treat avoidable blindness.

What are the eye health problems?

A 2007 survey found that cataract was the leading cause of blindness followed by glaucoma, diabetes eye disease and eye injuries. Cataract and uncorrected refractive error were responsible for 56 per cent of visual impairment, with diabetes eye disease accountable for 13 per cent. In most cases, uncorrected refractive errors can be easily solved with a pair of glasses.

Samoa has a large diabetic population who require screening and treatment for diabetes eye disease. We began a diabetes eye disease screening programme in 2017 and supported the eye care team to establish a diabetes eye care programme.

Our work in Samoa

Samoa has one permanent eye doctor who graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute in 2016 and an optometrist who won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2014. These two local female leaders are doing a wonderful job in leading Samoa's national eye care programme, meaning we can scale back our outreaches to Samoa. We’ll continue to support the local team through our workforce support programme, ensuring our graduates have suitable clinics, retain their skills and confidence, and receive support from their government.

The team get together to discuss the programme for the day, which will involve consultations, surgeries and follow-ups.
A patient is seen on outreach in Savai'i

​Progress in sight

  • Since 2016, the eye care team have established an effective diabetes eye disease programme to increase awareness of the effects of diabetes on the eye.
  • In 2016, Dr Lucilla Ah Ching-Sefo returned to Samoa after graduating from the Pacific Eye Institute with a Master of Medicine in Ophthalmology.

2022 Key Highlights

  • 2,704 eye care consultations provided.*
  • 420 diabetic retinopathy screenings conducted.*
  • 492 sight-saving surgeries performed.*
  • 63 diabetic retinopathy treatment sessions conducted.*
  • 345 spectacles were dispensed.*
  • 8 eye care graduates received individual workforce support and mentoring visits.
  • 2 Pacific Outreaches were led by the PEI team to Apia and Savai’i. Health promotion resources were developed, and World Sight Day events were conducted to raise community awareness of eye care. 

*data only available for Q1-Q2 2022, and services were also disrupted due to Covid-19 outbreak restrictions.

Where we work

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