Four-time Winter Paralympic medallist Jade Etherington, from Bourne, has called for more investment into eye research.
Partially-sighted skier Jade, who suffered from Axenfeld syndrome, is backing the inSights To A Healthy Future appeal from the National Eye Research Centre in her role as an ambassador for the charity.
The centre recently revealed it has been forced to turn down more than £700,000 of research applications due to a lack of funds.
Former Deepings School and Baston Primary School pupil Jade said: “Two million people in the UK have a degree of sight loss that significantly impacts on their daily lives, and that number is set to more than double by 2050.
“Personally my family has been affected by eye disease. My mother and younger sisters are visually impaired and, like them, I was born with both glaucoma and Axenfeld syndrome. Investment in eye research could make these conditions a thing of the past.
“I am really excited to be an ambassador for the charity and to be highlighting the need for more investment in eye research.”
Jade and her sighted guide Caroline Powell won three silver medals at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, last year. Jade has since retired from skiing and is focussing on a career as a teacher.
National Eye Research Centre chief executive officer Mike Daw said: “We are hugely grateful to Jade for presenting this appeal on behalf of National Eye Research Centre, highlighting the vital issue of eye health research funding.
“Our ageing population is presenting huge challenges for the health service, and eye disease will rapidly become a burning issue as more conditions become prevalent with our advancing years.
“Funding is not adequately keeping up with the scale of the problem and we can and should be doing more.”
Less than two per cent of medical research funding is spent on eye research.