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Visionary University of Ulster researchers are leading the way in optometry provision, education and research in Mozambique, through a revolutionary eyecare project that aims to reduce the incidence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

Working as part of the multi-university led Mozambique Eyecare Project (MEP), Ulster researchers helped to produce the African country’s first ever fully qualified optometrists.

Trained and accredited at the University of Lario in northern Mozambique, they will now provide comprehensive eyecare services to 23 million people across Mozambique. The project is changing the African nation’s standard of eyecare, and has delivered a sustainable model for optometric education and service delivery.

Professor Kathryn Saunders, Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Ulster said:

“It is estimated that 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired and that up to 80% of this impairment is preventable with access to eye examinations.

“The people of Mozambique are now benefiting from comprehensive eye examinations – a service which will grow and extend across the country as more graduates take their optometric skills out into the community.

“In addition, research activities carried out into childhood vision screening in schools offer further opportunities for the University of Ulster to help improve eyecare services and reduce levels of blindness and visual impairment.

“Through the project, University of Ulster students and academics have further enhanced their specialist skills and helped a developing country in need. We believe that this is the beginning of a new era for eye health in Mozambique and the university is proud to have played such an integral role."