Fred Hollows believed that everyone had the right to affordable eye care.

The Fred Hollows Foundation aims to end avoidable blindness, by giving people in developing countries the same quality eye care the rest of the world takes for granted.

The Fred Hollows Foundation works to prevent and cure blindness and visual impairment among the extreme poor by training surgeons and other healthcare workers, funding treatments and surgeries, building and upgrading medical facilities, providing equipment, funding research and supporting advocacy. It has established factories to produce low-cost intraocular lenses for cataract surgery. It has restored vision to well over a million people and protected the eyesight of many millions more.

Founded: 1992


Impact Area: Preventable Blindness


Asia: Cambodia | Indonesia | Lao PDR | Timor Leste | Philippines | China | DPR Korea | Myanmar | Vietnam | Afghanistan | Nepal | Palestine | Bangladesh | Pakistan East

Africa:  Burundi | Ethiopia | Rwanda | Eritrea | Kenya

Australia: Indigenous Australia


The Fred Hollows Foundation aims to put an end to avoidable blindness through medication, surgery, education, prevention, training, research and advocacy. It targets preventable and treatable eye diseases such as cataract, trachoma and diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to permanent blindness if untreated. 

Surgery and medication

In many cases, a20 minute operation can restore sight, or a dose of antibiotics can prevent blindness.

The Fred Hollows Foundation works in some of the world's poorest areas of to provide eye care, including performing cataract surgeries for as little as $50. It helped establish labs in Nepal and Eritrea to manufacture a very low-cost intraocular lens used in cataract surgery for $5 (instead of the prior market cost of about $150) -- well over 4 million have now been produced.


The Foundation invests in training doctors, nurses and health care workers so they can recognise, diagnose, refer and treat eye problems in their communities. It believes that training and empowering local people is the key to create a sustainable system of care in communities that need it most. 

Research and technology

With growing knowledge and understanding of eye diseases through research and technology, the Foundatio creates more effective solutions for restoring sight to even more people – to end avoidable blindness faster. 

It uses information gained through research to inform its work with local governments and partners to develop systems that enable it to end avoidable blindness.

It also funds its partners to develop technology that is innovative, affordable and helps reach its goal of ending avoidable blindness sooner. 


The Foundation works with governments, partners and local communities to achieve long term change by:

  • Strengthening national health systems with a focus on eye health.
  • Encouraging in-country government support for better resources.
  • Empowering local workers to implement effective, safe and quality eye interventions.
  • Creating financial systems that ensure services are affordable and available to everyone – from cities to remote villages. 

Why recommended? 

The Fred Hollows Foundation is recommended by The Life You Can Save. 

The Foundation’s work helps millions of the poorest of the poor keep or regain their sight, thus giving them back control of their lives.

Cost-effective intervention

The World Bank has identified cataract surgery as among the most cost-effective of all public health interventions. The Fred Hollows Foundation estimates that its typical cataract procedure costs as little as $50 per treatment.


In 2015 alone, the Fred Hollows Foundation performed 890,066 eye operations and treatments, screened 3.4 million people, treated 8.2 million people with antibiotics for trachoma,  trained 64,613 people, including 232 surgeons and 35,185 community health workers, built 110 medical facilities and supplied $2.4m of medical equipment. 

Community partnerships

The Foundation partners with local organisations to benefit from their knowledge and deliver effective service. It helps establish and improve long-term infrastructure, for example by training local health workers and helping to build and upgrade facilities, often in remote areas.