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The Wessexes

The Countess of Wessex helps launch new appeal for eyesight charity


The Countess of Wessex launched a charity appeal on Tuesday evening in support of a blindness support charity that wants to provide surgery to those in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Sophie, who is a Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, attended the Surgical Fund Appeal launch at the Royal College of Surgeons in central London to learn more about Orbis UK’s plans to treat patients in those countries who live with conditions including trachomatous trichiasis, cataract and strabismus.

In a statement on Orbis’s website, its Chief Executive, Rebecca Cronin, said: “As an organisation, we bring people together to work as one to ensure no one loses their sight simply because of where they live. When eye care professionals get the training they need, patients get the eye care they deserve.

“Access to this care is not always easy, and in many areas across Ethiopia, Nepal and Bangladesh, services may be too far away or cost too much. Through this fund, we hope to open-up these services to the people who need them most, and thanks to the Ruia family, donations to the Surgical Fund Appeal can now have twice the impact.”

Cronin has previously commented on Sophie’s work, saying: “Over the years, the support Her Royal Highness has given to eye care charities has enabled us to attract more support, and therefore expand our work in countries where eye care services are scarce. The Countess captures the hearts and minds of everyone she meets, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with her.”

Sophie has spoken about her passion for this issue before, having travelled to various countries in support of preventative measures and awareness and having served as Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which aimed to eliminate avoidable blindness as one of its chief aims, before the Trust closed in 2020.

She said: “I am keenly aware of the vast numbers of blind and visually impaired people across the world whose lives might be very different if they could access treatment. Children are missing out on opportunities to learn, to play, to have big dreams and achieve them, simply because they don’t have access to a pair of glasses or routine surgery.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.