Clare Gilbert receives award for prevention of blindness in children

11 January 2013

Leading eye health expert Professor Clare Gilbert has won the 2012 Pisart Vision Award in recognition of her work to put prevention of childhood blindness at the top of the global eye care agenda.

In a career spanning over three decades Professor Gilbert's research has led to policy change and the roll out of new programmes to reduce blindness by governments and international NGOs around the world.

Clare Gilbert, Professor of International Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Blindness can have extensive and lifelong consequences for the children concerned as well as for other members of their family, and I am delighted and honoured to receive this award. I would like to acknowledge the commitment and friendship of many colleagues around the world who have made major contributions to these efforts and who continue to work to reduce the avoidable causes of blindness in children.”

Professor Gilbert has been based at in the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine since 2002. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of blindness in children, particularly in middle and low income countries. Her findings have been used to assist in planning and evaluating eye care programs for children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Professor Gilbert has also been a technical advisor to the UK based international blindness organization Sightsavers since 1995, helping guide policy and develop programmes for its work in 32 countries.

Lighthouse International - a non-profit organisation fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment - gives the Pisart Vision Award annually to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to preventing and treating vision impairment.

The award includes a prize of $30,000 (US) and a replica of the Pisart sculpture, designed by visually impaired artist Gry Kleiman to represent the rods and cones of the eye.