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Global eye health and evaluation of eye care delivery models (ref: SHLS21079


   School of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr S Jonuscheit, Dr Stephanie Kearney, Prof N Strang  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Blindness and vision impairment (VI) affect >2billion people globally, with a higher prevalence in low and middle-income countries.[1] The WHO Vision2020 initiative was established to eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide, yet many vision-related problems persist.[2] Inequalities in access to care, limited clinical facilities, workforce retainment issues and relative rurality have all been reported as barriers to uptake and delivery of eye care. For example, in some African countries the uptake and delivery of equitable eye care services is challenging, primarily because of an absence of services and infrastructure and a lack of skilled personnel.[3] The distribution of eye care practitioners is highly skewed in some countries, with a majority of optometrists working in urban areas with an insufficient number of qualified practitioners available to attend to the overwhelming eyecare needs of the rural populace.[4]

This project seeks to answer important questions relating to global eye care to help reduce avoidable sight loss and inequality in eye care. The overarching aim of this PhD project is to investigate issues surrounding eye care delivery in a country of interest (this will be defined with the suitable candidate). The project aims to link to the integrated people-centred eye care (IPCEC) framework, which was recommended by WHO in November 2019 as an opportunity to reduce the impact of visual impairment. Specific objectives will be defined together with the suitable candidate. There is scope for the candidate to specialise in a particular clinical area, for example the management of ocular injuries, uncorrected refractive error, or presbyopia. It is envisaged that the candidate contributes to generating new ideas by developing novel approaches for improvement of care. A range of methodological approaches will be used, including critical literature review and appraisal, mapping of care pathways, surveys to assess patient and practitioner views, and quantitative analysis of costs associated with the management of ocular conditions. 

[1] World Health Organization. Blindness and Vision Impairment. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment. 26 Feb 2021. (accessed 24 Sep 2021)

[2] The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Vision 2020. https://www.iapb.org/about/history/vision-2020/. (accessed 24 Sep 2021)

[3] Müller A, Murenzi J, Mathenge W, Munana J, Courtright P. (2010) Primary eye care in Rwanda: gender of service providers and other factors associated with effective service delivery. Trop Med Int Health.15(5):529-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02498.x. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

[4] Boadi-Kusi SB, Kyei S, Okyere VB, Abu SL. (2018) Factors influencing the decision of Ghanian optometry students to practice in rural areas after graduation. BMC Med Educ. Aug 6;18(1):188. doi: 10.1186/s12909-018-1302-3.

 How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme and candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

 Applicants should apply for their preferred intake date using the Vision links via the Application Process page 


Funding Notes

Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts.
Find out more on our Research Scholarships and Studentships webpage.
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