More than 75% of the blindness in Tibet is either preventable or curable, but the vast majority of Tibetans do not have access to quality, affordable eye care. There are many challenges to providing eye care in Tibet, including the huge land area, dispersed nature of the population, inaccessibility of much of the terrain, lack of public transportation, and poverty of a majority of the population.
It is estimated that in order to eliminate needless blindness due to cataract in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) alone, doctors must perform 13,375 cataract surgeries each year. There are thousands of Tibetans who remain blind for years from not having access to proper eye care services, and still more people become blind each year.
Seva has been working in Tibet since 1995 and has helped 56,158 blind eyes see again. To date, Seva has trained 1,181 Tibetan eye care personnel, from rural health workers to nurses to ophthalmologists. Seva is the leading eye care provider in Tibet, responsible for 50% of cataract surgeries in central Tibet and 90% in traditional Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan provinces.
Seva is currently working in seven areas of Tibet and Western China (Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces) to bring essential eye care services to the region's most vulnerable populations, including rural communities, women, and children by: