Fellowships, Research &Technology

Strengthening eye health systems and the quality of eye care across the Commonwealth.

The issue

Good quality eye care is a scarce resource for millions of people across the globe, including in many Commonwealth countries. 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries, with little or no access to eye care.

What are we doing about it?

The Trust established the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, to tap into expertise that exists across the Commonwealth and deliver a programme of fellowships research and technology to strengthen eye care throughout the Commonwealth. Its aim is to bring quality eye care to all who need it.

It is being co-ordinated by the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The programme is structured as follows

fellowships people

People

To strengthen 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.

fellowships knowledge

Knowledge

To increase understanding of avoidable blindness and approaches to tackling it through research fellowships.

fellowships tools

Tools

To develop and roll out technology such as the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) system which help identify and diagnose eye problems in any setting using only a smartphone; and an electronic patient record system to replace inefficient and unreliable paper systems.

Where We Work

The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium is a group of highly respected eye health organisations working together to deliver an innovative, integrated five-year programme to strengthen eye health systems across the Commonwealth. Members are based in the following locations.

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Australia

Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists

Sydney.

Centre for Eye Research Australia

Melbourne.

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Bangladesh

Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute & Hospital

Dhaka.

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Canada

The Hotel Dieu Hospital

Kingston, Ontario.

Donald K Johnson Eye Centre

Ontario.

Misericordia Health Centre

Manitoba.

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India

LV Prasad Eye Institute

Hyderabad.

Aravind Eye Hospital

Madurai.

HV Desai Eye Hospital

Pune.

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Kenya

College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa

Nairobi.

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Nigeria

West African College of Surgeons

Lagos.

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Pakistan

Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital

Islamabad.

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Singapore

Singapore National Eye Centre

Singapore.

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South Africa

University of Cape Town

Cape Town.

University of Kwazulu-Natal

Durban.

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United Kingdom

International Centre for Eye Health

London.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

London

Moorfields Eye Hospital & UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

London

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

London

canada unitedkingdom nigeria south africa kenya australia singapore india bangladesh pakistan Image Map
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Australia

Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists

Sydney.

Centre for Eye Research Australia

Melbourne.

close

Bangladesh

Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute & Hospital

Dhaka.

close

Canada

The Hotel Dieu Hospital

Kingston, Ontario.

Donald K Johnson Eye Centre

Ontario.

Misericordia Health Centre

Manitoba.

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India

LV Prasad Eye Institute

Hyderabad.

Aravind Eye Hospital

Madurai.

HV Desai Eye Hospital

Pune.

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Kenya

College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa

Nairobi.

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Nigeria

West African College of Surgeons

Lagos.

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Pakistan

Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital

Islamabad.

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Singapore

Singapore National Eye Centre

Singapore.

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South Africa

University of Cape Town

Cape Town.

University of Kwazulu-Natal

Durban.

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United Kingdom

International Centre for Eye Health

London.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

London

Moorfields Eye Hospital & UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

London

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

London

Our Progress So Far

By the end of 2016, with the support of our partners, we have…

People

Supported five MSc students from Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan who have now graduated from their courses in Public Health for Eye Care from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and supported five students from Malawi and Ghana have graduated from the same course at the University of Cape Town.

Knowledge

Set up a free, open access educational resource for people working in eye health, to expand their knowledge of public health for eye care. More than 2,700 participants signed up from 142 countries.

Through our DR-NET Programme, training visits have taken place between partnered diabetic retinopathy institutions in the UK, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, to improve services available across the Commonwealth.

Supported the training of eye care teams in partner institutions to use laser equipment to treat people in the far stages of diabetic retinopathy.

Supported partner institutions to develop national strategies and guidelines to combat diabetic retinopathy in their countries.

Provided low-cost portable diagnostic equipment and lasers for treating people with diabetic retinopathy.

Technology

Funded the development of Peek, which turns a smartphone into a comprehensive eye exam tool, to bring quality eye care available to people even in the remotest of settings. Funded a pilot incorporating Peek across the health system in Botswana.

Funded research into the effectiveness of Peek in detecting diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

Funded a school screening programme in Kenya and Botswana that enables teachers to use Peek to detect their students’ vision problems. More than 21,000 children have been screened in the initial pilot phase.

People

Supported five MSc students from Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan who have now graduated from their courses in Public Health for Eye Care from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and supported five students from Malawi and Ghana have graduated from the same course at the University of Cape Town.

Knowledge

Set up a free, open access educational resource for people working in eye health, to expand their knowledge of public health for eye care. More than 2,700 participants signed up from 142 countries.

Through our DR-NET Programme, training visits have taken place between partnered diabetic retinopathy institutions in the UK, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, to improve services available across the Commonwealth.

Supported the training of eye care teams in partner institutions to use laser equipment to treat people in the far stages of diabetic retinopathy.

Supported partner institutions to develop national strategies and guidelines to combat diabetic retinopathy in their countries.

Provided low-cost portable diagnostic equipment and lasers for treating people with diabetic retinopathy.

Technology

Funded the development of Peek, which turns a smartphone into a comprehensive eye exam tool, to bring quality eye care available to people even in the remotest of settings. Funded a pilot incorporating Peek across the health system in Botswana.

Funded research into the effectiveness of Peek in detecting diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

Funded a school screening programme in Kenya and Botswana that enables teachers to use Peek to detect their students’ vision problems. More than 21,000 children have been screened in the initial pilot phase.

Meet the team

andrew bastawrous

Dr Andrew Bastawrous

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Dr Andrew Bastawrous
Peek Co-founder
Chairman

Peek (Portable Eye Examination Kit) aims to improve ophthalmic health in low-income countries by increasing access to eye care by utilising smartphone technology (apps and custom made hardware) and patient management systems. This allows non-experts to assess the vision and eye health of people living in the remotest of settings and at a very low cost and link them with healthcare providers. Peek can be used to diagnose blindness, visual impairment, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Peek is being utilised for use in outreach, school screening, diabetic retinopathy screening and population-based surveys.

dr hillary rono

Dr Hilary Rono

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Dr Hilary Rono
PhD student, Ophthalmologist and member of the Peek team
PhD student, Ophthalmologist and member of the Peek team

Dr Hillary Rono works as an ophthalmologist in the Turkana and West Pokot provinces of Kenya. He serves a population of 2.5 million people, providing eye care to those who live in very rural communities, where causes of avoidable blindness, such as trachoma, are more common, but where access to eye care services is most challenging.

He has been working with the Peek Team to trial the smartphone app’s effectiveness and support its development. He sees Peek as a revolution in eye care.

The Trust is funding Dr Rono’s PhD through the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. His research project aims to investigate whether Peek can improve the quality of eye care services in eye clinics, and also increase access to these services in Kenya.

The skills that he gains through this will equip him to not only improve his own work, but will enhance his management and training skills to help develop a new cohort of eye health professionals.

dr desiree murray

Dr Desirée Murray

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Dr Desirée Murray
MSc graduate
MSc graduate

Dr Desirée Murray is an ophthalmologist, University lecturer and Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium scholar from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She has a special interest in the prevention of blindness, with an emphasis on glaucoma. The Caribbean has the highest prevalence of glaucoma in the world and The World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization recognises glaucoma as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the region.

In November 2015, Dr Murray was awarded a Masters degree in Public Health for Eye Care through the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium. She credits her studies with increasing her knowledge and understanding of public health, including the development and implementation of national blindness prevention policies. Her interest in glaucoma directed her to analyse glaucoma services in Trinidad and Tobago for the research component of her MSc, which she is working to improve.

dr rajan shukla

Dr Rajan Shukla

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Dr Rajan Shukla
Research Fellow
Research Fellow

Dr Rajan Shukla has more than 21 years of experience in the health care sector.

He is currently working on programmes to improve access to services for prevention of blindness from diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity by integrating eye care into diabetes care and neonatal care. He is currently undertaking a PhD as Research Fellow of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The primary goal of his PhD research project is to improve access to retinal examination for early detection of ROP at neonatal care units to prevent premature infants from becoming needlessly blind.

dr sucheta kulkarni

Dr Sucheta Kulkarni

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Dr Sucheta Kulkarni
MSc student in Public Health for Eye Care
Research Fellow

Dr Sucheta Kulkarni is an Ophthalmologist and specialises in diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. She has been working in H V Desai Eye Hospital, Pune, India, since 2000 where she is Associate Medical Director.

Having worked in the field of retinopathy of prematurity for over six years, and aware of a significant lack in research in this area, she was motivated to apply for the MSc Public Health for Eye Care course at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium funded by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

Once she completes her course, she plans to serve her community back home, with a newly acquired open and critical outlook. She also wishes to improve the postgraduate teaching programme at her institute with newly gained knowledge and skills.

dr rosemary ngwu

Dr Rosemary Ngwu

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Dr Rosemary Ngwu
Ophthalmologist and
Clinical Fellow
Research Fellow

Dr Rosemary Ngwu is an ophthalmologist based at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Lagos, the most populated state in Nigeria. LASUTH provides eye care services to people from urban, semi urban and rural communities.

She is currently a member of the Ophthalmologic Society of Nigeria and the Lagos state blindness prevention programme which visits various local government areas, including schools in the state creating awareness of avoidable causes of blindness and its prevention, free screening and surgical services to the people.

Dr Ngwu is currently on a clinical fellowship training in orbit and oculoplasty at Aravind Eye Hospital, India, funded by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, through the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium. Apart from the love and keen interest for the subspecialty, she was acutely aware that there were so many patients around the state with oculoplastic diseases and so very few oculoplastic surgeons to cater for their needs. This training will enable her add to the work force in reducing the burden of oculoplastic diseases, thereby reducing blindness and improving the quality of life of each patient.

Double Joy

Double Joy tells the story of Dr Hillary Rono - a Kenyan Ophthalmologist and beneficiary of the Trust’s fellowship programme -- who conducts research into the effectiveness of smartphone-based eye care in rural communities in Kenya. Dr Rono’s story is one of selfless determination to bring an end to needless causes of blindness affecting so many thousands of people in rural parts of Kenya.