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 here.


Examples of recent SightFirst grants include:

  • Czech Republic, District 122 — A grant of US$133,000 was awarded to the Lions of District 122 to support 14 training courses at the Lions Ophthalmic Education Centre, Prague.  A total of 350 ophthalmologists from Central and Eastern Europe will receive instruction in many topics related to different eye conditions. Local Lions will be involved in student selection and linked with the ophthalmologists upon their return.

  • Belize (Undistricted) — A grant of US$130,699 was given to the Lions of Belize to expand upon the existing diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment services currently available at the National Eye Clinic and its five satellite facilities. Implemented in partnership with the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired and the Ministry of Health of Belize, the project will provide training in diabetic retinopathy screening and diagnosis to five optometrists and train one ophthalmologist to conduct laser treatment. Additionally, the National Eye Clinic and five satellite centers will receive upgraded equipment. An estimated 10,663 diabetic people will be screened and 1,650 treated during this project’s three year implementation period.

  • India, District 323-D2 — A grant of US$270,316 was awarded to the Lions of District 323-D2 to work in partnership with the Kalpataru Foundation to improve access to comprehensive eye care services. Three secondary level hospitals and eight vision centers will be upgraded. The Lions will focus on extending the system’s ability to serve the indigent communities in the area through 360 outreach events over three years. In all, 121,575 patients will be screened, 23,660 cataract surgeries will be carried out, and 20,555 individuals will receive treatment for various blinding conditions.