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Exploring eye care pathways, patient priorities and economics in low and middle-income countries

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Ref: SHLS20031

Background: Worldwide, about 400 million people are visually impaired or blind, constituting considerable demand for eye care.1 Effective and accessible eye care can make a significant difference to the lives of millions of people as 80% of all causes of visual impairment are preventable or curable. The World Health Organization (WHO) has formulated a list of priority eye diseases and the Universal Eye Health Global Action Plan is aimed at meeting the most pressing needs and reducing rates of visual impairment.2 The WHO framework has been adopted by many countries, including low and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, the feasibility of translating a framework into effective eye care provision within a country depends on many factors including an appropriately trained workforce, structural facilities such as a developed primary and secondary care and adequate financial resources to support the provision of eye care. These factors vary greatly and while effective systems are in place in some countries (e.g. the UK), this is often not the case in LMICs.

Aims: This PhD will address a public health and WHO priority area. Issues around current eye care delivery and patient priorities will be explored and areas for service improvement in LMICs (e.g. Ghana) identified. The project can be tailored towards the candidate’s origin and research interests.

Methods: A mixed methods approach will be used including a scoping review, quantitative analysis of health care utilisation and costs, mapping of patient pathways and qualitative evaluation of priorities of people with visual impairment.
This project links to ongoing research on global eye care, which is supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (NS,SJ) and industry partners. The student will have the opportunity to draw on expertise developed in these projects and to foster a network of research collaborations (incl. expertise in health and social research at the Yunus Centre/Dr NeilMcHugh (ECR)).

The successful applicant will have a background in eye care, for example optometry or ophthalmology and be holding the minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above). Previous experience of health services and quantitative research methodology is desirable.

Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.


1. Bourne, R. R. A., Flaxman, S. R., Braithwaite, T., Cicinelli, M. V., Das, A., Jonas, J. B., et al. (2017). Magnitude, temporal trends, and projections of the global prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 5(9), e888–e897.

2. WHO, World Health Organization. (2014). Universal eye health: A global action plan 2014-2019 (pp. 1–28).

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