RESOURCES

130111 WHO Draft action plan for the prevention of blindness


Draft action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2014–2019
WHO

Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014–2019 Report by the WHO Secretariat



In January 2012 the Executive Board reviewed progress made in implementing the action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment for the period 2009–2013. It decided that work should commence immediately on a follow-up plan for the period 2014–2019, and requested the Director-General to develop a draft action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment for the period 2014–2019 in close consultation with Member States and international partners, for submission to the World Health Assembly through the Executive Board.

The following global action plan was drafted after consultations with Member States, international
partners and organizations in the United Nations system.

For 2010, WHO estimated that globally 285 million people were visually impaired, of whom
39 million were blind. According to the data for 2010, 80% of visual impairment including blindness is avoidable. The two main causes of visual impairment in the world are uncorrected refractive errors (42%) and cataract (33%). Cost-effective interventions to reduce the burden of both conditions exist in all countries.
Visual impairment is more frequent among older age groups. In 2010, 82% of those blind and 65% of those with moderate and severe blindness were older than 50 years of age. Poorer populations are more affected by visual impairment including blindness.

In recent resolutions the Health Assembly has highlighted the importance of eliminating avoidable blindness as a public health problem. The vision of the global action plan is a world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential, and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care services. The global action plan 2014–2019 aims to sustain and expand efforts by Member States, the Secretariat and international partners to further improve eye health and to work towards attaining the vision just described. Its goal is to reduce avoidable visual impairment as a global public health problem and to secure access to rehabilitation services for the visually impaired. The purpose of the action plan is to achieve this goal by improving access to comprehensive eye care services that are integrated into health systems.