British Council for Prevention of Blindness

Blindness Prevention in Action

Registered Charity Number: 270941

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Blindness affects over 39 million people globally with a further 124 million experiencing significant sight loss. 90% of these people live in low income countries and 80% of their blindness is treatable or preventable.  Sight loss is not purely a health issue, it devestates lives as it directly affects an individual's ability to access employment, causes social isolation, family breakdown and is a significant factor in worsening poverty.

About us

The British Council for Prevention of Blindness is a small niche charity, established in 1976, employing two part-time members of staff. We fund innovative research and training that seeds the development of local resources – skills, knowledge and expertise – to build programmes which save and restore sight in low and lower middle income countries. Our belief is that no-one, anywhere in the world, should lose their sight if this can be prevented. 

We focus almost entirely on long-term interventions relevant to the poorest communities. We believe that the most effective use of resources in order to have the greatest impact is through the support of the few, who will transfer their knowledge and skills in blindness prevention through educating healthcare workers and influencing governments who are then in the position to pass on the benefits to the many - the so-called ‘cascade effect’.

Our Aims

  1. To enhance our work as a niche player in blindness prevention by funding training and medical research
  2. To raise our profile
  3. To improve income generation for further grant-making


  • Somewhere in the world, a child goes blind every minute.
  • 75% of this blindness is avoidable. With adequate funding it could be treated or prevented.
  • 89% of the world's 36 million blind people live in poor countries.
  • Interventions to prevent blindness are amongst the most cost-effective: a blind person requires care and rehabilitation and cannot usually work, so saving sight makes economic sense as well as transforming lives.
  • Training one person to be a leader, trainer and advocate creates a cascade effect when they pass on their knowledge and skills to others who can go on to build eye care programmes in developing countries, to save the sight of many people and promote the development of new knowledge to help treat eye conditions.

Statistics from The World Health Organization

 Our key achievements

  • Making ground-breaking discoveries that have led directly to a breakthrough in the eye medication Ivermectin. This is now widely used in Africa to prevent ‘river blindness’ (onchocerciasis) – a condition that once blinded millions of people.
  • Validated the use of smartphones for the diagnosis of eye diseases in Kenya (PEEK), meaning we have been able to save the sight of thousands of people in the region. PEEK technology is now being used throughout Africa and Asia where millions of people don’t live near eye health facilities or cannot access treatment.
  • Supported the development of an eye healthcare training module to be delivered within the World Health Organization’s Integrated Management of Childhood Illness programme. The Tanzania Ministry of Health have now agreed that this training can be delivered to over 800 frontline child health care workers, thereby detecting eye problems early and avoiding childhood blindness.
  • We have supported over 160 eye care professionals from the world’s poorest countries to train and undertake research, developing their expertise in planning and managing blindness prevention programmes, as well as leadership and advocacy skills.
  • Each of these new eye care leaders will save the sight of up to 40,000 people in the course of their career, and will on average train a further 200 people to save sight.

BCPB receives no government funding and all of our work is funded through voluntary gifts including legacies.

Contact Us

British Council for Prevention of Blindness 4 Bloomsbury Square

Phone: 020 7404 7114

British Council for Prevention of Blindness News

New Annual Review

Date posted: 13 Dec 2017

Come and have a look and see what we have been up to over the past year. … Read More»

Building Research Capacity

Date posted: 13 Nov 2017

Working with Vision 2020 to build research capacity in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa through our mentorship programme. … Read More»

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Our Appeals

Quicker, Safer and Cheaper Training for Eye Surgeons in Sub-Saharan Africa

Simulation cataract operation

There are two key obstacles to reducing preventable blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa: 1. Numbers: … More information »

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Financial Information from CharityFinancials

March 2018 March 2017
Total Income £174,943 £211,716
Total Expenditure £266,723 £363,986

If you have questions about the financial information listed above please contact Charity Choice at