The British Council for Prevention of Blindness has sadly closed due to lack of funds.  If you have an enquiry please email Mr Patrick Franklin – patrick.franklin@homarusaquafish.co.uk

This website was last updated on 30 June 2021.

Globally, over 2 billion people live with a vision impairment or blindness.

Of those, at least 1 billion people have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

The prevalence of distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is estimated to be four times higher than in high-income regions.

Rates of unaddressed near vision impairment are estimated to be greater than 80% in western, eastern and central sub-Saharan Africa.

With adequate funding and research, most visually impaired people in the world could have their visual impairment treated or prevented.

Interventions to prevent blindness are amongst the most cost-effective – a blind person requires care and rehabilitation and cannot usually work, so saving sight makes economic sense as well as transforming lives.

Training one person to be a leader, trainer and advocate creates a cascade effect in which they pass on their knowledge and skills to others who can go on to build eye care programmes in developing countries, to save the sight of many people and promote the development of new knowledge to help treat eye conditions.

About us

The British Council for Prevention of Blindness, a small niche charity, established in 1976 funded innovative research, education and training to prevent blindness in low and lower middle-income countries.

Its pioneering projects empowered local professionals and communities to undertake preventative sight saving programmes.  The results changedthousands of lives for the better, relieving communities of the burden that blindness places upon them, reducing poverty, and boosting economic growth.

The focus was almost entirely on long-term interventions relevant to the poorest communities – the most effective use of resources in order to have the greatest impact is through the support of the few, who will transfer their knowledge and skills in blindness prevention through educating healthcare workers and influencing governments, who are then in the position to pass on the benefits to the many: the so-called ‘cascade effect’.

BCPB was a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), a kite mark to the quality of its work.

Our current work

Our achievements

Esmel a past BCPB Boulter Fellow leading a patient across a river

Making ground-breaking discoveries leading directly to a breakthrough in the eye medication Ivermectin. This is now widely used in Africa to prevent ‘river blindness’ (onchocerciasis) – a condition that once blinded millions of people.

Nurse examining a child in Tanzania

Supporting the development of an eye health care training module to be delivered within the World Health Organization’s Integrated Management of Childhood Illness programme. The Tanzania Ministry of Health have now agreed that this training can be delivered to over 800 frontline child health care workers.

Peek CEO testing a patient with the mobile phone technology

Validating the use of smartphones for the diagnosis of eye diseases in Kenya (Peek Vision), leading to the sight of thousands of people in the region being saved. Peek technology is now being used throughout Africa and Asia where millions of people do not live near eye health facilities or cannot access treatment.

Supporting over 160 eye care professionals from the world’s poorest countries to train and undertake research, developing their expertise in planning and managing blindness prevention programmes, as well as leadership and advocacy skills. Each of these new eye care leaders will save the sight of up to 40,000 people in the course of their career, and will on average train a further 200 people to save sight.

Patients after cataract surgery

Forty years of funding innovative research leading to greater understanding and better treatment of diseases including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, trachoma, and childhood cataract.

Over 150 scientific papers have been published in the last nine years as a result of BCPB-funded research.

You can see more on our impact here

For more information on our work see our past annual reviews here