Child Blindness

Photo credits: 1) Helen Keller International, Nigeria; 2) Fred Hollows Foundation, Vietnam; 3) International Eye Foundation, Malawi

Child Blindness Program

Approximately 1.4 million children worldwide are blind. In addition, nearly 17 million children with low vision or impaired sight lack visual aids, services or eyeglasses to help them function. As a component of A2Z: The USAID Micronutrient and Child Blindness Project, the A2Z Child Blindness Program used competitive grants to reduce child blindness and improve eye health. Grants provided support to national and international eye care and health NGOs that deliver services to populations in need. The goals and priorities of the program are to:

  • Expand delivery of high-impact direct services (including screening, treatment, education and rehabilitation);
  • Scale-up innovative approaches to service provision and program implementation; and,
  • Contribute to the global knowledge base on effective approaches to large-scale child eye health programs.

The A2Z Child Blindness Program awarded 41 grants to 24 local and international organizations to support work in 29 countries across Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The program provides four types of grant awards:

  1. Organizational Development:  1 year grant from $25,000 - $50,000 to support specific training activity or procurement of essential medical equipment to support development of eyecare NGOs
  2. Service Delivery:  2 year grant from $200,000 - $500,000 to support comprehensive eye care service delivery projects
  3. Refugee Service Delivery:  2 year grant, $200,000, to support comprehensive eye care service delivery projects in refugee populations
  4. Operations Research:  9 month grant from $50,000 - $100,000 to contribute to the global knowledge base on effective approaches to large-scale child eye health programs

Grant-funded interventions included eye health education, vision screening, clinical and surgical services, training of health workers and community members, provision of necessary medical treatments including eyeglasses, and education and rehabilitation of blind children.


USAID/A2Z Child Blindness Program Results

From June 2006 through July 2011, Child Blindness Program Service Delivery grantees…

  • Screened nearly 2.6 million children for eye care conditions
  • Referred over 100,000 children for additional services
  • Provided children with more than 43,000 eyeglasses
  • Performed over 6,700 cataract surgeries and nearly 2,500 other surgical procedures
  • Trained nearly 29,000 people to perform screenings



A Closer Look:


For additional information regarding the A2Z Child Blindness Program, please email: