Rotary Club Of Warwick

Sep1 - Rotary Restoring Sight to the Poor

John Miles, one of the Trustees of the Global Sight Solutions charity, formerly known as the Guildford Rotary Eye Project, returned to the Rotary Club of Warwick last week and updated members on the Avoidable Blindness programme which sets out to restore sight to people whose poverty prevents them getting treatment.

Over 50 million people cannot see, study, or work, due to avoidable blindness which can be easily remedied, often with just a cataract operation, or medication. With over 18 million sufferers in India, the charity started work 20 years ago in Calcutta and Bengal establishing eye clinics for children. Working with local Rotary clubs and grant funding from Rotary International, eye hospitals were established, and local surgeons trained. The hospitals also treat those who can pay which supports the charitable work and the aim is for each hospital to be self-sustaining.

There are now 57 Rotary Eye Hospitals primarily in India and Africa providing free eye care to the poor, undertaking Cataract surgery, treating glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy, and 117,000 cataract operations were undertaken in 2018. Just £5 donated can pay for a cataract operation once this is multiplied by Rotary grants.

Global Sight Solutions differs from other charities which “parachute” eye surgeons in for a short period and cannot help the huge numbers suffering from say river blindness, for whom knowledge and confidence in the service spreads slowly. GSS has buses which bring people into its clinics and hospitals for day surgery. Causes include poor diet with Vitamin A deficiency, genetic defects, poor education and poor living standards and hygiene.
The charity has rebranded itself over the last 3 years as Global Sight Solutions, to become better known and attract the corporate funding it needs to meet a target of 50 hospitals by 2020. They are now working to set up more hospitals in the Middle East, Kenya, and Nigeria, and John is about to set off to finalise plans and locations.

Rotarian Vivien Gillman thanked John for his inspirational talk and wished him well for his forthcoming trip. President David Brain presented him with a donation towards their work and praised his tireless work to help the poor.

If you would like to support this work you can donate on-line via globalsightsolutions or find out more on their website:


President David Brain (Rt) presents donation to John Miles