Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds My name’s Allen Foster. And I’m the co-director of the International Centre of Eye Health, which is at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. ICEH was started about 35 years ago. And it’s involved in doing research and education in order to prevent visual loss and blindness around the world. There are 285 million visually impaired people in the world, of which an estimated 39 million are blind. And the major causes for the visual impairment and blindness are two diseases– cataract and refractive errors. Most of the blindness in the world is in low-income and poor communities. And so the challenge is to get the services for cataract, which is very treatable, and also for refractive error– spectacles– to these communities.
Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds And if we can do that, then we can prevent and treat most of the visual impairment and blindness in the world, and we can give people the opportunity to look after their families, to work, and also to have the quality of life that we all need, for which vision is essential. [Dr Daksha Patel] At present, we have the ability to treat and even prevent over two thirds of global vision impairment. We even have established treatments, like cataract surgery and spectacle correction. However, the challenge in many low- and middle-income countries is we need to align very few eye health specialists with limited infrastructure to deliver on efficient and effective eye care services.
Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds In this course, we will examine the existing services and, through a logical process, begin to consider the steps that are required to plan and implement quality services within local health systems. We will discuss with experts practical, tried and tested methods that are in use at present but also begin to consider the role of innovation to strengthen health provision. This course is suitable for you if you are a health provider, an eye health specialist, a public health advisor, or an NGO or charity working in low- and middle-income countries. [Professor Allen Foster] If we continue in this way, then the number of blind and visually impaired will increase.
Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds And this will be particularly true in the poorer areas of the world, like Africa and Asia. But the point is that actually, cataract and refractive error is treatable, and therefore if we can get services to these populations, then we can reduce the number of blind people in the world.