Eye Heroes is the UK's first child-led initiative fighting avoidable sight loss and blindness
Two friends, an ophthalmologist and a service designer, responded to first-hand experiences of patients who had not been for eye checks and were suffering from avoidable sight loss as a result. Yusrah Shweikh and Manjul Rathee came up with a volunteer-led, zero-cost intervention designed to raise awareness about eye health, especially in hard-to-reach UK communities such as migrant groups, the elderly and low-income households.
Now, thanks to Eye Heroes, children aged 8-12 are trained through interactive workshops in schools to become champions of eye health and inform people in their communities about the importance of regular eye tests. In 2018, training directly led to the uptake of over 10,000 eye tests.
It’s a scalable and sustainable solution that’s radical for its human-centric design approach: by educating and empowering children to become health advocates, they have a unique reach into their communities, helping to overcome barriers of language, limited mobility, anxiety and stigma, and perceived costs.
Eye Heroes is now developing digital content to maintain children’s engagement, while its founders are seeking research funding for academic trials to measure their potential impact on a global scale.