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When LCIF helps a child see the world for the first time, protects a village from a debilitating eye disease or intervenes before someone goes blind due to diabetic eye disease, SightFirst grants make these efforts possible. SightFirst grants turn the SightFirst mission—building comprehensive eye care systems to fight the major causes of blindness and care for people who are blind or visually impaired—into action. These grants upgrade hospitals and clinics; train doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers; and distribute medicine and raise awareness about eye diseases and conditions.

The SightFirst program funds high-quality, sustainable projects that deliver eye care services, develop infrastructure, train personnel and/or provide rehabilitation and education in underserved communities. Of utmost concern are the major causes of blindness and vision impairment: cataract, river blindness, trachoma, uncorrected refractive error and, especially in developed nations, diabetic eye disease and glaucoma.

Lions have raised more than US$415 million to fund the SightFirst program and save sight around the world. Lions' districts work with their regional SightFirst technical advisor in developing SightFirst grant applications and project proposals.

Our sight programs have changed the lives of millions. Read a few sight stories.


Recent SightFirst grants include:

  • United States of America, District 33 - A grant of US$128,800 was awarded to the Lions of Massachusetts, USA to create and sustain primary and comprehensive low vision rehabilitation services in Massachusetts. Over 2,000 low vision patients will benefit from the project.
  • United States of America, District 12-O - A grant of US$166,110 was awarded to the Lions of Tennessee, USA to create and sustain primary and comprehensive low vision rehabilitation services in Tennessee.  Three centers offering low vision rehabilitation services will be renovated and equipped for improved service, and 80 eye care providers will have increased capacity to provide low vision rehabilitation service.
  • United States of America, District 22 - A grant of US$130,000 was awarded to the Lions of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Colombia, USA for a continuation grant to establish the Lions-led Low Vision Rehabilitation Network (LOVRNET). Over 2,200 low vision patients will benefit from the project.
  • Macedonia, District 132 - A grant of US$254,348 was awarded to the Lions of Macedonia, FYROM for a continuation grant to increase the quality and availability of education services for children with visual impairment. The project funding will provide vision screening for 30,000 children, and assist 90 children with visual impairment enrolled in mainstream schools.
  • Taiwan, District 300 - A grant of US$901,227 was awarded to the Lions of Taiwan, ROC for a continuation grant to the Taiwan National Eye Care Network. The project funding will help establish three new eye care and vision centers in the rural areas, and provide vision screening for 43,200 children and adults.
  • Cameroon, District 403-B1 - A grant of US$409,334 was awarded to the Lions of Cameroon to support onchocerciasis elimination efforts. The project funding will make possible the distribution of 5.8 million Ivermectin treatments, benefitting an estimated 1,990,417 individuals.
  • Cameroon, District 403-B1 - A US$278,892 grant was awarded to the Lions of Cameroon to establish and equip a training facility at Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute. The project funding will provide scholarships to 27 mid-level ophthalmic personnel, 13 ophthalmologists, and two equipment technicians.
  • Chad, District 403-B1 - A US$1,144,549 grant was awarded to the Lions of Chad and Organisation pour la Prévention de la Cécité (OPC) for trachoma elimination activities. The funding will make possible the training of 20 trichiasis surgeons and the operation of 22,380 trichiasis patients, with the overall objective to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem in Chad.
  • Kenya, District 411-A and Uganda, District 411-B - A grant of US$1,500,000 was awarded to the Lions of Uganda and Kenya through the partnership between the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and LCIF. The funding will support trichiasis elimination in both countries through the underwriting of trachoma surgery and associated costs.
  • Cuba, Undefined District - A US$474,350 grant was awarded to the Christoffel Blindenmission for the expansion of low vision services for children and young adults in Cuba. The funding will provide diagnostics and treatment equipment to primary, secondary, and tertiary eye care clinics, as well as visual aids to regular and special schools for the visually impaired. Additionally, the grant will support the training of 404 pediatric and ophthalmology health professionals, and primary education and rehabilitation professionals. It is expected that the project will benefit 5,987 children and 2,924 families in three years.
  • India, District 323-D1 - A grant of US$94,860 was awarded to the Lions of Satara, Maharashtra for cataract surgery activities. The funding will support the infrastructure upgrade of the Satara Camp Lions NAB Eye Hospital, and two vision centers located in Tarale and Koregaon. Plans for 165 annual outreach events will benefit an estimated 47,500 patients.
  • India, District 323-H2 - A US$451,534 grant was awarded to the Lions of Maharashtra, India to equip the Udaygiri Lions Eye Hospital and five other vision centers, as well as build and equip a space for the Aruna Abhay Oswal Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The project funding will provide training for 10 ophthalmologists, 50 paramedical and support staff, 500 physicians, and 500 volunteer health workers, in turn benefiting approximately 119,500 patients annually.
  • Global, Undistricted - A US$300,000 grant was awarded to the World Health Organization (WHO) to help support the development and publication of the World Vision Report , a new WHO document that will outline the shift in the global epidemiological distribution of visual impairment, and highlights best practice towards addressing eye care and preventing blindness.

SightFirst Research Program

The following grants were made through the SightFirst Research Program:

  • LV Prasad Eye Institute – “Assessing the trends in prevalence and causes of visual impairment in the south Indian state of Telangana” US$59,631

  • Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology – “Determining annual need for comprehensive eye care services in a given population in low resource setting” US$86,851

  • Brien Holden Vision Institute – ”A comparative study to investigate the need for integrated School Eye Health programmes in public schools in order to reduce the burden of refractive error in school-age children in FCT Abuja, Nigeria” US$97,864

  • St. Joseph Hospital – “Prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in children in Kinshasa, DRC” US$59,937

  • Lao NOC, CBM, FHF & ECF – “RAAB & National Eye Health Monitoring System in Lao PDR” US$58,088

  • Brien Holden Vision Institute – “New technologies, such as 3D printing offer innovative public health solutions to reduce and correct refractive errors in school-aged children in the Pacific Islands”, US$97,539

For information about previously approved grants, please contact the Sight Programs department, contact SightFirst@lionsclubs.org.


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