80% of blindness is preventable

How big is the problem?

According to The World Health Organisation, there are 250 million people living without sight. 40% of these live in India alone, partly due to the lack of affordable technology. Of these people, 80% can be cured but early detection is vital. 

70% of India’s eye-doctors live in cities, but the vast majority of the blind are in rural areas, out of reach of hospitals and clinics. 

Such disproportionality in the distribution of healthcare, alongside dietary and sanitation contributors to eye-disease, make India the country home to more blind people than any other.

What can we do about it?

Preventable blindness is a burden where the light of hope is overcoming the shadow of suffering. Low-cost technology, public health measures, international initiatives and grass-roots NGOs are paving the way to systemic change.

The Arclight has a significant role to play in these movements. It is a fully-functional and portable ophthalmoscope, with drastically lower production costs over traditional instruments. This makes it accessible to low-resource areas where blindness is most prevalent, resources are most scarce and where the implications of visual loss  are greatest. 

For the cost of 1 traditional ophthalmoscope, 48 Arclights can be produced and distributed. It is a health-care-for-all device, working towards a vision-for-all world. 

Power to the Midwife, Power to the Nurse

During this project I will train midwives and immunisation nurses to conduct screening for blindness in newly born children, using the Arclight for the Brükner ‘Red Reflex’ exam.

Every child has the right to sight, but proper examination of the eyes is not currently part of standard health checks for new-borns, meaning that childhood blindness can be left undetected. 

Adding this simple screening technique to Midwifery training brings them into the fight against preventable blindness – a role well within their grasp that could save the sight of thousands of children.


A portable, solar-powered ophthalmoscope and otoscope for examination of the eyes and ears, at a fraction of the cost of traditional equipment. 

"The Arclight makes examination of the eye easy, exciting, and affordable in even the poorest countries. Its contribution to tackling world blindness is huge."
Mrs Claire Morton FRCS, FRCOphth 
consultant ophthalmologist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wales, UK

15,000 km, 35 Institutions, over 1,000 Midwives and Nurses

This journey will take me to almost every region of India and Nepal. Over 8 months, I aim to engage with at least 35 institutions to deliver the polished Arclight training protocol designed in collaboration with Dr. Blaikie of the University of St Andrews and other experienced ophthalmologists both within the UK and India.

Pictured right is a draft route. It will undergo modification until finalisation of the full list of institutions that have accepted my offer to engage with the project.


About Hugo

I am an adventurous 3rd year medical student with a passion for life and caring for others. From my own experiences of chronic pain, I discovered my direction to  help heighten the human experience through medicine.

I have a particular interest in ophthalmology and global health. To prepare for this project I am working closely with Dr. Andrew Blaikie of The University of St Andrews.

I have 10 years of off-road motorcycle experience and have had the privilege of adventuring extensively to remote areas of  Latin America and Europe, perfectly preparing me for a longer expedition combining travel and medicine. 

Scroll to top