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Supporting global eye health during the COVID-19 pandemic 

An update from the International Centre for Eye Health, with news about a Community Eye Health Journal issue on COVID-19

A nurse takes a patient’s temperature to screen for COVID-19 before they enter an eye hospital. PARAGUAY © Fundación Visión

Nearly three months after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern, we are continuing to feel the effects of the global pandemic. Our partners and colleagues, and those working in the eye health community in general, are very much in our thoughts at this time.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruption in eye care delivery in many countries worldwide. In many areas, routine eye services have been suspended and only patients with emergency eye conditions are receiving direct care. Eye health workers are faced with numerous challenges, such as deciding who should still be seen, making choices about personal protective equipment, and reducing the risk of viral spread within eye clinics and hospitals – all while continuing to provide high quality eye care.  

To address this challenge, ICEH is publishing a special issue of the Community Eye Health Journal with up-to-date guidance on COVID-19 specifically for the eye health community. 

Due to the urgency of the situation articles are being published online as soon as they are available, with several already live:

Similarly, whilst health care services around the world seek to prioritise emergency care and hospital space, it is important that vital healthcare in other areas is not neglected. We are carrying out and coordinating research to assess the impact of this on eye health. 

The unprecedented disruption to travel and social contact has provided a unique challenge for the continuation of our training and education programmes. We are making more of our resources available online, whilst also organising more virtual meetings between our partners, to ensure the momentum of learning and access to knowledge, now and in the future. Please check our website and social channels regularly for further information on upcoming activities. We hope that we can continue to support all those involved in eye health throughout this situation. 

Looking beyond the time of the pandemic, we are currently working on a global collaboration,  the Lancet Commission on Global Eye Health, to strengthen the evidence base that eye health needs to be an international priority and that people receive the care and treatment they need.

The full impact of the pandemic on eye health will only be fully understood some time into the future. Despite current difficulties, we are continuing with our research and will keep you updated as and when we have information. Please also don’t hesitate to get in contact with us through the email below or on our social media. 

Contact us: ICEH@lshtm.ac.uk

For more information from ICEH:

External resources:

CEHJ articles are also available on the CEHJ app:

App Store https://bit.ly/CEHJ-iOS

Google Play https://bit.ly/CEHJ-Android

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