Commonwealth leaders have been sent a letter urging them to prioritise sight screenings and affordable treatment for all children ahead of a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

Eye health charities signed the letter and called for a pledge that would build on progress to eliminate trachoma and the commitment to ‘quality eye care for all’ made in 2018.

The letter stated that school eye health was of the utmost importance to ensure that all the children in the Commonwealth have access to a world class education. It noted: ‘For example, a study of almost one million children across 30 low-income and middle-income countries found that children with vision impairment were two to five times less likely to be included in formal education.’

Peter Holland, chair of the Vision for the Commonwealth Coalition and chief executive of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, said: ‘Eye health has long been a neglected public health issue, and with evidence to suggest that by 2050 half the world’s population will have myopia we are on the verge of a global crisis, which world leaders must step in to prevent.’