General Assembly

IAPB’s General Assemblies are held every four years. They are the only event catering to the full spectrum of eye health professionals: ophthalmologists, optometrists, programme managers, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations and health professionals, as well as stakeholders from the wider international development and public health communities.

The Assembly provides a forum for people involved in the fight against avoidable blindness and visual impairment to share information and exchange ideas. It normally includes a 3- day programme of scientific lectures, panel discussions, symposia and courses; social events, including an opening and closing ceremonies and gala dinner; and a trade exhibition for equipment manufacturers and NGOs to showcase products and projects.


Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Assembly has been postponed to 11-13 October, 2021.

Past Assemblies

  • 1978: First GA – Oxford, United Kingdom — 170 representatives from 44 nations; Theme: Mobilizing resources
  • 1982: Second GA – Bethesda, Maryland, USA – 300 representatives from 50 countries; Theme: New horizons in sight
  • 1986: Third GA – New Delhi, India – 400 participants; Theme: A decade of progress
  • 1990: Fourth GA – Nairobi, Kenya – over 400 participants from 60 countries; Theme: Sustainable strategies
  • 1994: Fifth GA – Berlin, Germany; Theme: Towards affordable, accessible, appropriate eye care
  • 1999: Sixth GA – Beijing, People’s Republic of China – 600 participants from 57 countries; Theme: The Right to Sight. Launch of VISION 2020
  • 2004: Seventh GA – Dubai, United Arab Emirates; More than 600 delegates from 75 countries; Theme: Partnership
  • 2008: Eighth GA – Buenos Aires, Argentina; Close to 800 delegates from 60 countries; Theme: Equity and Excellence in Eye Care
  • 2012: Ninth GA – Hyderabad, India; Close to 1500 delegates from 66 countries; Theme: Eye Care: Everybody’s Business
  • 2016: Tenth GA – Durban, South Africa; Close to 1500 delegates from 66 countries; Theme: Eye Care: Everybody’s Business