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, diabetic retinopathy and eye injuries. Cataract and uncorrected refractive error were responsible for 56 per cent of visual impairment, with diabetic retinopathy accountable for 13 per cent. In most cases, uncorrected refractive error can be easily solved with a pair of glasses.

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

Our work in Samoa

Samoa has one eye doctor who graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute in 2016 and an optometrist who won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2014. We’re hopeful this local eye care leadership will make a sustainable impact on Samoa's national eye care system, and we’re scaling back our outreaches to Samoa. We’ll continue to support the eye doctors and nurses through our workforce support programme which ensures 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

  • The eye doctor and team of eye nurses are setting up a diabetic retinopathy programme to increase awareness of the effects of diabetes on the eye.
  • In 2017 the eye care team up-skilled 129 community health nurses in basic eye care and awareness of diabetic retinopathy. They are now referring people with eye problems for advice and treatment.
  • In 2017 the local team performed 540 surgeries and 159 diabetic laser treatments. This shows the impact of our investment in the eye care workforce over the last 10 years.

Where we work

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