Global Involvement and Volunteering for Eyes

Always wanted to volunteer and don’t know where to start?
Get in contact with GIVE: Email Rowena McNamara at [email protected]

Or join our online member forum here

  • An estimated 19 million children are vision impaired (<15 years).
  • 12 million children have a vision impairment due to refractive error.
  • 1.4 million have irreversible blindness, requiring access to vision rehabilitation services to optimize functioning and reduce disability

World Health Organization, Global Data on Visual Impairments 2010, 2012

Blinding Eye Disease

Health Workers

Orthoptists have been volunteering in different geographical locations and settings for many years. Some as individuals and some through large organisations, either self-funded or with their posts backfilled and expenses paid as a one-off and or many times over. Sometimes the request has come to develop skills in a rural health environment where the teaching has been at its very basic level or by contrast taking orthoptics to its highest possible level in medical educational institutions and post graduate courses. Wherever the orthoptist volunteer(s) may have been, and have whoever they have shared skills with, it has promoted eye health service development in that location.

Although an orthoptic service or the orthoptic profession does not exist worldwide, orthoptic skills and knowledge can enhance the achievements of primary and secondary eye care. The theoretical knowledge and practical skills empower health staff to detect and refer early and we as orthoptists know that provides the best visual outcome!

Some of the many locations that UK orthoptists have volunteered.

GIVE Mission Statement

‘To facilitate Orthoptists to promote eye health globally’.


  1. To share skills that the orthoptic profession can bring to support eye health service development globally.
  2. To provide information and practical support before volunteering.
  3. To provide ethical guidelines for volunteers.
  4. To use and share available information, contacts, networks and resources.
    e.g. IOA, NGO’s, WSPOS etc.
  5. To develop a resource library of educational materials, for practical and theoretical teaching at different levels.
  6. To develop volunteer research, through standardised data capture and recording.

“Eye health in children is a health issue, an education issue and a social issue.”
Prof. Clare Gilbert
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

If you’re interested in getting involved, please join our member forum here.