John Miles. Guildford Eye Project

Tue 22nd May 2018 at 18.30 - 20.30



The aim of the Rotary Club of Guildford Eye Project is to serve the avoidably blind by providing Rotary Eye Hospitals which incorporate the provision of assessment camps, surgical equipment and surgeon training, such that free eye operations and treatment can be provided to those in developing countries who are too poor to afford the treatment themselves.


The Eye Project was founded in 1998 by eye surgeon and ophthalmic consultant Dr Sam Das in conjunction with its other Trustees, all of whom were members of Guildford Rotary Club.                                                                 

There are nearly 50 million avoidably blind worldwide, of which 18 million are in India, 4+ million being in the Kolkata area.

It is an integral part of the charity’s ethos that the land and building required for hospitals and clinics in the areas of need are provided by local support. This is effectively the local Rotary Clubs who organize and administer these medical centres. A proportion of the cost of equipment, and of operations is also required to be funded locally. This means that there is an ongoing enthusiasm for the success of the project locally, and because all funding from foreign sources is processed from Rotary Club to Rotary Club there are no administrative costs to be deducted.

This results in a unit cost per operation of up to 65% less than comparable organisations. The equipment provided is typically microscopes for examination and for operations, laser units, ophthalmoscopes and the like.


As of 2015 forty four hospitals/clinics have been established in various regions of India. 

All of these are supervised and overseen by suitably qualified local Rotarians.

Recently sites in other countries such as The Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh etc have been identified and in the next few years it is hoped to start Rotary Eye Hospitals in these areas.

The declared aim of the charity is for all facilities to eventually become self financing. A primary source of income is derived from the provision of private eye operations to wealthier patients. This ‘business model’ is now being extended to the charity's first eye hospital in Nigeria which opened in 2012.

The first ten eye surgeons working in India were trained in the UK through Rotary GSE Projects while the African eye surgeons were trained with support from Indian Rotarians and their Rotary Clubs. All surgeons commit not only to working primarily in the Rotary facilities, but also to train incoming surgeons thereby increasing the medical skills base available. 

The facilities in India as of 2015 have provided <750,000 free eye examinations and  >100,000 free eye operations per year.


The Rotary Club of Guildford Eye Project provides:

Training for eye surgeons

Microscopes and laser equipment etc

'Eye' buses

Hospital transport

Mobile eye screening camps

Facilities primarily for the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment & diabetic retinopathy.