Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness
The Executive Board at its recent EB130 session noted the Secretariat's report on the implementation of the action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2009-2013. The Executive Board decided in Decision EB130(1) that a follow-up action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment for the period 2014-2019 should be developed. The Board 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, and to submit this draft action plan for consideration, through the Executive Board at its 132nd session, to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in 2013.
Definition and Causes
Blindness is the inability to see. The leading causes of chronic blindness include cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, corneal opacities, diabetic retinopathy, trachoma, and eye conditions in children (e.g. caused by vitamin A deficiency). Age-related blindness is increasing throughout the world, as is blindness due to uncontrolled diabetes. On the other hand, blindness caused by infection is decreasing, as a result of public health action. 80% of all blindness can be prevented or treated.
The magnitude of visual impairment and blindness and their causes have been estimated, globally and by WHO region from recent data. For countries without data estimates were based on newly developed model. Globally the number of people of all ages visually impaired is estimated to be 285 million, of whom 39 million are blind. People 50 years and older are 82% of all blind. The major causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive errors (43%) and cataract (33%); the first cause of blindness is cataract (51%). Visual impairment in 2010 is a major global health issue: the preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global burden.
Prevention of blindness
- Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness
- Definition and Causes
- Global data