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Eye health experts come together to boost fight against avoidable blindness

A new 7.1 million grant will enable experts from a range of institutions to come together for the first time as the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, coordinated by the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The Consortium will pursue vital research into conditions such as diabetic retinopathy which leave millions without sight, and will build capacity across the Commonwealth to tackle avoidable blindness and provide quality care to those affected or at risk.

Worldwide there are 285 million visually impaired people, of whom 39 million are blind. Yet 80% of blindness and visual impairment is curable or treatable.

Good quality eye care is a scarce resource for millions of people across the globe, including in many Commonwealth countries.

Announced on Commonwealth Day 2014, the grant by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will support the newly created Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium to deliver an integrated programme of fellowships, research and technology.

The Consortium's highly respected eye health organisations and academic institutions will work together to deliver the programme, which will help strengthen health systems to prevent blindness and make high quality eye care available to all.

The programme delivered by the Consortium will support:

People: strengthening capacity to deliver eye care, through training and information sharing, including Public Health for Eye Care Fellowships, Masters courses, clinical fellowships and a Commonwealth-wide diabetic retinopathy team training network;

Knowledge: deepening understanding of avoidable blindness and approaches to tackling it, through research fellowships;

Tools: development and roll out of technology such as the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) system which will help identify and diagnose eye problems in any setting using only a smartphone; and O

Contact: Katie Steels
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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