Corneal Blindness

Give sight now to support our programs that help those living with corneal blindness to see again.

What is Corneal Blindness?

The outermost layer of the eye, the cornea, is highly sensitive. It receives nourishment from tears and the aqueous humor; in order to refract light, the cornea must remain transparent and cloud-free. Scarring of the cornea caused by a wide variety of infectious and inflammatory diseases leads to severe vision loss and blindness.

Fourth leading cause of blindness

According to the World Health Organization, blindness of the cornea is the 4th leading cause of blindness globally (5.1%), and is one of the major causes of visual deficiency after cataract, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

Trachoma is one of the main causes of corneal scarring and is responsible for blindness or visual impairment in nearly 2.0 million individuals. Ocular trauma and ulcerations also cause 1.5 to 2.0 million new cases every year. Onchocerciasis and leprosy are still significant causes of blindness, affecting approximately 250,000 individuals each. Traditional eye medicines have also been implicated as a major risk factor in the current epidemic of corneal ulceration and thus corneal blindness in developing countries.

Additionally, each year, more than 350,000 children are born with or develop infections at a young age, which cause corneal blindness. Read more on childhood blindness.

Your donation will save someone’s sight

SEE is working diligently to reduce the number affected by corneal blindness with your help.


  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • The aftereffects of bacterial, fungal, or viral infections
  • Eye trauma
  • Congenital disease
  • Traditional medicine or home remedies, which often harm the eye rather than relieve pain or improve eyesight


Reduce or eliminate exposure to harsh conditions. Wearing hats, sunglasses, and using eye drops to prevent dry eyes can also help.

Treating Corneal Blindness

The only curative treatment available is a cornea graft or transplant, but both are difficult to perform because access to eye banks that provide viable eye tissue are not as readily available in the developing countries. Even in developed nations, access to the needed surgery is limited.

SEE International & Corneal Blindness Around the World

As the condition is significantly less common than either cataracts or diabetic retinopathy and viable donated corneas are difficult to acquire, SEE treats fewer cases of corneal blindness than other conditions of blindness. However, the cases SEE doctors are involved in tend to be more advanced and require complex surgery, which the local doctors may not be trained in.

SEE is working diligently to reduce the number affected by corneal blindness around the world by:

  • Performing corneal grafts and transplants
  • Training local eye care personnel in ophthalmology and surgical techniques 
  • Strengthening local health care infrastructure, including encouraging the development of local eye banks

Help us save someone’s sight

Donate now