People are screened for Diabetic Retinopathy at a Pacific Eye Institute mobile clinic, an outreach initiative of The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, at the Navua Hospital in Serua Province, Fiji on Sep. 29, 2015. Photo by Adam Ferguson for The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

In the latest in its tour of the Commonwealth, Time to See has travelled to New Zealand where a private preview of the exhibition will be held at Government House before going on display to the public in Auckland and Wellington.

Time to See features the work of five award winning photographers who visited seven countries where The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and Standard Chartered are funding projects to prevent avoidable blindness.

The exhibition has been viewed by Her Majesty The Queen and Commonwealth Heads of Government at the meeting in Malta. It has also travelled to Sydney for the annual meeting of GET2020 (Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020) and has appeared in the Palace of Westminster in London.

On 23 November, Time to See will be launched in New Zealand at Government House by Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. Guests will include the High Commissions of Fiji, Pakistan, Australia, Cook Islands, Somoa, Solomon Islands and Niue.

The exhibition will then be open to the public at two locations in New Zealand: Britomart, Auckland from 28 November until 4 December and then it will travel to Wellington Central Library and be on display from 6 December until 21 December.

Amongst the programmes depicted the exhibition includes images from the diabetic retinopathy programme in Fiji implemented by the Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand.

In 2015, the Trust awarded £1.5m in grant funding to The Fred Hollows Foundation, for its partner The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to work in partnership with local organisations and government institutions in the Pacific Island Nations of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to prevent blindness from diabetes.

Diabetes is becoming a global epidemic, and with it comes the risk of blindness. Of the ten countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world, seven are located in the Pacific. Despite the fact that by 2030 rates of diabetes are predicted to increase by 54%, there is expected to be a growth of only 2% in the number of ophthalmologists globally. Diabetic retinopathy is therefore predicted to become the leading cause of blindness by 2030. To combat this escalating problem, the Trust’s Diabetic Retinopathy Initiative is working in the Pacific to build local capacity by training health professionals, providing equipment and improving infrastructure, thereby improving access to screening services and referral systems. The Initiative also aims to raise public awareness of diabetic retinopathy and the need for regular eye screening by strengthening health promotion policies.

Four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be.

It is Time to See.

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