Relief for Human Suffering Foundation

What is a Visual Impairment?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), visual impairment happens when an eye condition impacts the visual system and one or more of its capacities2,3. Visual impairment is measured using visual acuity or the sharpness of sight through identifying numbers and letters at standardized distances. However, to estimate the current number of people who still need eye care, individuals whose vision has been corrected by glasses or contacts are not included. Visual impairments are categorized as near and distance presenting, ranging from mild to severe cases (refer to references for more in-depth information)2,3. 

Globally, Cataracts and uncorrected refractive errors are the leading causes of visual impairments1

Other causes of visual impairments include2,3:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Corneal opacity
  • Trachoma

A number of risk factors such as age, genetics, other health conditions, and affordability and accessibility to quality care can cause and worsen visual impairments1,2,3. For example, four times more people suffer from distance visual impairment and eight times more from bilateral blindness in low to middle-income regions of the world compared to high-income regions3. 

We are on a mission to reduce the disparity. People in need of eye care must be able to access it regardless of where they live, and with your help, we can make a difference, one person at a time.

Our organization currently focuses on restoring sight caused by cataracts and uncorrected refractive errors, which are the leading causes of visual impairments around the globe1.

Join us to make an impact!
Let’s end the suffering caused by easily treatable visual impairments and medical conditions for people in developing countries, one person at a time!


  1. Burton, M. J., Ramke, J., Marques, A. P., Bourne, R. R. A., Congdon, N., Jones, I., Ah Tong, B. A. M., Arunga, S., Bachani, D., Bascaran, C., Bastawrous, A., Blanchet, K., Braithwaite, T., Buchan, J. C., Cairns, J., Cama, A., Chagunda, M., Chuluunkhuu, C., Cooper, A., … Faal, H. B. (2021). The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: Vision beyond 2020. The Lancet Global Health Commission, 9(4), e489–e551. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30488-5
  2. Who Health Organization. (2021). Blindness and vision impairment.
  3. World Health Organization. (2019). World report on vision. 
  4. *, Oct 2015
  5. **World Health Organization


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  • Notification when our inaugural Volunteer trip to Africa goes live in 2024 or 2025.
  • A chance to win a FREE 7-14 Day Volunteering trip to Africa for one person where no application fee and program fee will be charged.
  • The opportunity to make an impact.
  • The chance to explore Nigeria, also known as the Giant of Africa.