Researchers have found that between one and 1.4m fungal eye infections occur in the developing world per year, which leaves 600,000 people blind in one eye.

The estimation of global fungal keratitis figures was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases and led by Lottie Brown at the University of Manchester.

It found that infection of the transparent cornea of the eye can be devastating, especially if caused by fungal keratitis.

Researchers said the infection, which often sets in after an agricultural accident, results in visual impairment, blindness and disfiguration leading to discrimination, unemployment and social isolation.

They added that outcomes of fungal keratitis are poor and often diagnosed too late, with 60% of sufferers going blind in the affected eye and 10% requiring surgical removal of the eye.