Impact of the journal

Examining eyes door to door in a village. PAKISTAN. © Jamshyd Masud/Sightsavers.
Examining eyes door to door in a village. PAKISTAN. © Jamshyd Masud/Sightsavers.

The burden of avoidable blindness is borne largely by the developing world: 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income countries. According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people worldwide suffer from visual impairment and, amongst them, 39 million people are blind.1 In Africa there are 27 million visually impaired people, and nearly 7 million who are blind. Yet, in 80% of cases, visual impairment could be cured or could have been prevented.

Over the past ten years, it has become clear that capacity building in developing countries – and specifically the training of national eye health personnel – is essential to the elimination of avoidable blindness. Without it, we will not be able to significantly and lastingly reduce the burden of avoidable visual impairment. There is also a lack of relevant training materials for personnel working in these resource-poor contexts.

The Community Eye Health Journal is an important aid to capacity building in low and middle income countries: it provides up-to-date and relevant information to eye care workers, refreshes skills learnt many years previously, shares good practice and motivates people to reach beyond the eye clinic and into communities – thereby improving the eye care and health outcomes of people throughout the developing world.

Key findings from our 2011 reader survey

  • 89% of respondents worked directly with patients and each respondent had, on average, contact with 60-79 patients per week
  • 90% of respondents agreed that the journal had improved and/or supported their work, and 80% said that something they read in the journal had led them to change their clinical practice or management of patients.
  • 80% agreed that the journal had motivated them to reach out to the community, 75% that it had changed the way they conducted health education, and 70% agreed that it had changed the way they talked to patients, that it had stimulated them to talk to non-eye care colleagues, and that it had motivated them to stay in eye care.

How the journal has helped readers improve their practice

“I’m now patient-centred – I treat them as if I am treating myself – cross checking the information in the Journal with what I know and depending on the patient’s condition.” Nurse/Medical Assistant, Africa

“It has helped in making diagnosis promptly and counselling patients appropriately. Chart used especially in the red eye and eye injuries editions help to educate patients well.” Ophthalmologist, Africa

Suture-less cataract – mostly learned from article in one of the journals.” Ophthalmologist

“The Journal contains articles explained by very experienced professionals, so after going through their well observed experiences, I always try to be in their shoes.” Ophthalmic Nurse/Assistant, Southeast Asia

To find out more about the impact of the journal download the summary report of our 2011 reader survey, available on the Reports page.


1. World Health Organisation, 2012. Global Data on Visual Impairments 2010