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What is the Global Action Plan?

GAP has a global target - the reduction in prevalence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by 25% by 2019 from the baseline of 2010.

 Infographic GAP

How can this target be achieved? National Eye Health Plans must be geared to:
  • Collect data on prevalence of Visual Impairment through RAABs (Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness)
  • Assess a country’s eye health system using ECSA (Eye Care Service Assessment)
2. Train more eye care professionals
  • Address acute shortage in every cadre of eye health – nurses, optometrists, ophthalmologists etc.
  • Ensure equitable access to eye health personnel
3. Provide comprehensive eye care
  • Eye care is well funded and integrated in to health care
  • Covers all major causes of visual impairment & rehabilitation
  • Increase cataract surgical rate and coverage
4. Eliminate social and economic obstacles
  • Point-of-care payment should not prevent access and should be free for the poorest
  • Gender disaggregated data should be collected at all levels
The Action Plan provides us with ‘indicators’ to measure progress at the national level: 
  1. the prevalence and causes of visual impairment; 
  2. the number of eye care personnel; and 
  3. cataract surgical rate and coverage (1) 
Importantly, The Action Plan has an overall measure for the success of this Action Plan: reduce the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by the year 2019 from the baseline of 2010.
High proportions of people cannot access eye health services around the world. 
  • Serious shortages in trained personnel, particularly in Africa. 
  • Low surgical rates and irregular outreach to the poorest and rural populations. 
  • For many poor and marginalised people the cost of treatment can be prohibitive
  • Transport, lack of appropriate technologies and discrimination cause further difficulties in access to eye health for vulnerable groups of people such as the poor, minorities, persons with disability and women
  • Changing demographic and health trends – Ageing populations and Diabetes, for example.

To meet the Action Plan's objectives, it is important that an active and effective Eye Health (or VISION 2020) national committee is in place at the country level. The Guidelines for Eye Health Committees suggests good practices for constituting and operating a national Eye Health Committee to achieve the Action Plan's mandate.


(1) Cataract surgery rate - number of cataract surgeries performed per year, per million population and coverage - number of individuals with bilateral cataract causing visual impairment, who have received cataract surgery on one or both eyes.

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Registered Charity No: 1100559, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 4620869, Registered in England & Wales