HRH The Countess of Wessex joins meeting of international eye health experts

HRH The Countess of Wessex joins meeting of international eye health experts

Today, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will attend a meeting of over 170 eye health experts from 27 Commonwealth countries as they look to expand and develop eye health services across the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium was established in 2015 by the Trust in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to bring quality eye care to all those who need it. It is an international network of leading eye health centres of excellence spanning 47 Commonwealth countries that work in partnership to prevent avoidable vision loss and blindness.

Now in its fifth year of operation, and for the first time in its history, over 170 people involved in the Consortium have come together in London to share their knowledge and experiences and look at how together they can expand their work and create a world which is free from avoidable blindness and poor vision. 

The Countess of Wessex is passionate about eradicating avoidable blindness and has seen first-hand the difference organisations with the right knowledge, experience and funding can make on a global scale. At the meeting, The Countess will speak with leading ophthalmologists and health professionals and hear about how their work is changing the way eye care is delivered in some of the most under-resourced areas of the Commonwealth. Nigerian ophthalmologist Dr Chimdi Chuka-Okosoa will speak to The Countess about current training opportunities for ophthalmologists from East and West Africa and the moves to develop specialist training centres across the region.

As part of the visit, The Countess will also witness how eye health professionals supported by the Consortium are gaining access to vital new skills. Her Royal Highness will try out specialist surgical training equipment to simulate eye surgery which is being used to train eye doctors from all over the Commonwealth.

On Thursday 28 March, The Countess will host a reception at St. James’s Palace for participants of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, High Commissioners, policy makers and eye health experts to celebrate the achievements of global eye health leaders in their efforts to bring vision to everyone, everywhere.

The Countess first saw the Consortium’s work in action when she visited the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday in January 2015, in what was her first engagement as Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Trust.