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Since 1978, Seva has been a leading innovator in the delivery of vital eye care services to the world’s most vulnerable including women, children, and indigenous peoples.

Seva is headquartered in Berkeley, California, with offices in Canada, Nepal and Cambodia and partner offices in 11 countries. Seva works to restore eyesight and prevent blindness in more than 20 countries around the globe.



* USAID Child Blindness Program; Fostering Development through Prevention and Treatment of Blinding Eye Disease, 11/2007


  • Women account for 2/3rds of all people with blindness.

USAID Investing in Prevention: Childhood Blindness Report, 2013

  • If women received cataract surgery at the same rate as men, global visual impairment and blindness caused by cataracts would be reduced by 11%.

Lewallen, Kilamanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology, 2008


  • In 39 years Seva has helped restore eyesight to nearly 4 million people who were blinded by cataract and other preventable eye conditions.
  • Seva serves one million people with vital eye care services annually. This includes providing eye exams, free and low-cost eyeglasses, medication to cure eye infections, and other such essential eye care services.
  • Seva’s eye care programs serve at-risk communities in more than 20 countries around the world: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Tanzania, Tibet, Uganda and the United States.

  • In regions where the need is greatest, like Cambodia and Tibet, Seva-supported programs account for as much as 25-50% of all eye surgeries performed.
  • Aurolab, which Seva partnered to help found, is producing 8% of all the synthetic intraocular lenses (IOLs) used by hospitals around the world. These lenses are produced and distributed at a fraction of the previous cost, a key factor in reducing the overall cost of cataract surgery.
  • With a focus on financial sustainability, Seva has helped to create eye care systems that today have grown to be some of the most celebrated hospitals and eye care institutions in the world.


In 1978, after working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to end smallpox in India, Dr. Larry Brilliant (currently President of the Skoll Global Threats Fund), and his wife Girija, a public health specialist, convened the Walden Woods Conference, a remarkable gathering of friends and colleagues to consider what to do next — how could they be of service?

The eclectic group invited to attend featured people with backgrounds in public health, counterculture, and spirituality. Dr. Brilliant’s rolodex included the World Health Organization’s Dr. Nicole Grasset, legendary Indian Ophthalmologist Dr. Venkataswami, spiritual teacher Ram Dass, and humanitarian activists Wavy Gravy and Jahanara Romney.

From the Walden Woods Conference, Seva Foundation was born. The name Seva (say-va) is Sanskrit, meaning self-less service, and this founding philosophy remains today. It was decided the organizational mission would be to build solutions to the dire need for eye care and blindness prevention services in the developing world where poverty levels are high and access to eye care services is low or otherwise non-existent. The compassion that drives Seva’s work starts with the realization that we are all connected as one global community.

In 38 years, Seva and our donors have helped restore eyesight to nearly 4 million people worldwide. Over 30 million have been served with other much needed eye care services, including vision exams, low cost or free glasses, antibiotics to treat infection, and other such eye care services.

With a focus on sustainability, Seva builds programs that communities can support, such as one of our very first partners, the Aravind Eye Care System, which has since grown to become the largest eye care provider in the world. Learn more visit


Aravind Eye Care System, India
CHEF International, Pakistan
Divino Niño Jesús, Peru
Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, India
Fundación Visión, Paraguay
Grameen Healthcare Services, Bangladesh
HV Desai Eye Hospital, India
Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología, Mexico
Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital, Bangladesh
Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Tanzania
Kham Eye Center, China
Kewa Pueblo Health Corp, New Mexico, USA
LV Prasad Eye Institute, India
Magrabi Foundation, Egypt
Medical Action Myanmar, Myanmar
Mettashin Foundation, Myanmar
Quasem Foundation, Bangladesh
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, New Mexico, USA
Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya, India
United Indian Health Services, California, USA
Visualiza Clínica Médica Oftalmológica, Guatemala
Vivekananda Mission Asram Netra Niramay Niketan, India
Yangon Eye Hospital, Myanmar

In addition to these partners, we support capacity building in over 90 hospitals around the world.