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A patient has their eyes tested in Nakuru, Kenya, using the Portable Eye Examination Kit.

The Trust extends its support for the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium

The Trust is delighted to announce that it is extending its support for the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, to help enable it to expand its pioneering work to find new solutions for eye health care across the Commonwealth.  Included within this new £4 million grant is further support for the award-winning Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK), which is using smartphone technology to revolutionise the way eye care is delivered in remote and rural communities.

The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, established by the Trust and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2014, is a group of eye health care experts who facilitate innovation and education in the field of eye care throughout the Commonwealth. Its goals are to conduct vital research about how to combat avoidable blindness, and to help those people suffering from eye health conditions to get the treatment they need.

Since its inception the Consortium has funded Masters scholarships at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Cape Town, and supported over forty clinical fellowships in eye health care across the Commonwealth.

This grant expansion will provide additional scholarships for Masters and Post-Graduate Diplomas in eye health care at both the University of Cape Town and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and provide new opportunities for clinical fellowships in Africa. 

It will also help to establish both the Retinoblastoma Training Network and the Retinopathy of Prematurity Network, and ensure important information about how to combat retinopathy of prematurity is shared within the eye health community.

The Trust’s extended support to PEEK will enable trainers and technical staff to screen an additional 7.5 million schoolchildren by 2019. Through this important work, PEEK will help provide eye health care in rural communities across the Commonwealth to those adults and children who need it the most.

Our Chief Executive, Dr. Astrid Bonfield CBE, said of the expansion:

We are delighted to increase our support for the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, which in such a short time has established and demonstrated a strong track record of delivering expert eye care to people throughout the Commonwealth. By supporting initiatives like the Consortium, we are helping to train the next generation of eye health specialists and ensure they have the technology they require to save more people from needlessly losing their sight.