The global fight against avoidable blindness has been strengthened with the signing of a partnership between The Fred Hollows Foundation and Helen Keller International.Under the agreement, the organisations will work together to help restore sight to some of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. They will collaborate on projects and campaign together for greater investment in international efforts to prevent blindness.

The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan welcomed the partnership, saying the scale of the challenge ahead was significant.

“We still have a long way to go to ensure that no one is needlessly blind and this is another step forward in making that ambitious goal more achievable,” Mr Doolan said.

“Today, 32.4 million people are blind in the world – and four out of five of them don’t need to be.”

Helen Keller International CEO Kathy Spahn, in Sydney to formalise the agreement, said it was important to address both the causes and the consequences of preventable blindness.

“Factors such as political instability, conflict and population movement can contribute to preventable blindness, making it even harder for people to access medical treatment and other basic health services,” Ms Spahn said.

"Preventable blindness is a major drain on economic productivity, including in developing countries where it locks people into the poverty cycle.”

Fred Hollows and Helen Keller both worked tirelessly to help those who were blind or vision-impaired and to push for more resources and research to eradicate preventable blindness. Today The Fred Hollows Foundation and Helen Keller International are two of the world’s leading organisations striving to ensure no one is needlessly blind.

The Fred Hollows Foundation is working to restore sight in more than 20 developing countries, and in some of Australia’s most isolated Indigenous communities.

Helen Keller International works in 21 developing countries to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition, through research-based programs in vision, health and nutrition.