New Beginnings

Bob McMullan

It was in 2012 that we last had an update on the latest global prevalence of blindness and vision impairment prevalence that we could use for advocacy and policy. 2017 was the year when we got new data—my congratulations to the Vision Loss Expert group for producing the papers that brought these numbers out. In a remarkable partnership with IAPB, the group worked to present this data as powerful infographics: the IAPB Vision Atlas.

This is an important development; the Atlas is a powerful tool for advocacy and policy out reach. The entire sector can now use one set of peer-reviewed data to present the impact of our work. The IAPB Vision Altas also comes at a crucial time. It captures the impact of our collective work: nearly 90 million people were prevented from becoming blind between 1990 and 2015. It also documents our success stories; we are now in the end-game for eliminating scourges like onchocerciasis and, in the next decades, trachoma. However, the Atlas also charts an uptick in the prevalence, driven by an ageing and growing population, myopia and diabetes retinopathy. The Atlas projects a 5.6% increase in avoidable vision impairment by 2020.

I am confident you will find the IAPB Vision Atlas a powerful tool—copies of the books will have reached you, IAPB members, already. The Atlas is in many ways, Peter Ackland’s swan song. IAPB and a team of trustees are working to recruit a new CEO, though it will be tough to fill Peter’s shoes. We expect to complete the process soon, and Johannes Trimmel, IAPB’s Director for Advocacy, has kindly agreed to be the interim CEO to help us with the transition.

The new year will mark a new beginning for IAPB and the membership. Here is wishing you a very happy new year, and I look forward to working with you in 2018. Do take some time out to browse through our achievements over 2017, below.


Bob McMullan
President, IAPB


Planning    Knowledge    Financing    Advocacy    Membership


New Group A member

Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center logoShanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center (SEDPTC) is a municipal public health institution providing primary eye care for the population of Shanghai province.

IAPB releases Spectacle Coverage Report

IAPB Spectacle Coverage Report coverThe Spectacle Coverage Report looks at current national data on spectacle coverage. Written by Adriane Becker Contreras and Peter Ackland, the report looks at 27 countries where national level data are available ( 13 Latin American, 6 Asian, 5 African, 2 European and 1 Eastern Mediterranean).

New Paper on Effectiveness of Cataract Surgery in 20 Countries

Eye test in progress A paper published in PLOS ONE calculates that across 20 low and middle income countries the average cataract surgical coverage (CSC) was 53.7%, i.e. only a little over half the people needing cataract surgery had actually received an operation.

Position Paper on Self-Refraction with Adjustable Spectacles

Position Paper on Self-Refraction with Adjustable Spectacles cover pageAdjustable spectacles prescribed under the guidance of suitably trained persons within a recognised service delivery system may be part of the solution to the global problem of vision impairment from uncorrected refractive error provided they meet optical standards defined by ISO. Read the paper

Low Vision Curriculum

Low Vision curriculum cover pageThe IAPB Low Vision work group have produced guidance on low vision curricula to help train ophthalmologists, optometrists, refractionists, teachers and rehabilitation workers

IAPB and WHO release RAAB data for East Timor

Principal Investigator Dr Marcelino Correia handing over the report The Ministry of Health Timor-Leste in collaboration with the WHO and IAPB shared the survey results at a dissemination workshop in Dili, Timor-Leste.


WHA70 Member State Side Event: Towards Universal Eye Health

70th World Health Assembly - Member State Side EventLed by Member States from across all six WHO regions and a coalition of IAPB members, a side event was held during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva to highlight the need for for accelerated efforts to achieve the Global Action Plan goals.

Resources for Allied Ophthalmic Personnel

Resources for Allied Ophthalmic Personnel Cover pageThe Allied Ophthalmic Personnel Training the Trainers Curriculum provides resources necessary to educate trainers of AOP to be effective educators. It highlights a list of competencies believed to be important for trainers of AOP.

CEHJ in Spanish

Cover page of CEHJ Spanish EditionIAPB Latin America publishes the 2017 issue of La Revista de Salud Ocular Comunitaria, the Spanish version of the Community Eye Health Journal, with a focus on Cataract Surgical Rate (CSR) in Latin America.

WHO announces the World Report on Vision

Eye test in progress during a survey WHO is working to put together a plan to develop the World Report on Vision following several Member States’ request at the WHA70 side event on eye health.


The Commonwealth's Policy Brief on Avoidable blindness

Commonwealth's Policy Brief on Avoidable blindness cover The aim of the policy brief is to enable Commonwealth countries to contribute towards achieving Universal Eye Health. It encourages them to take informed decisions on policy, planning and resource allocation.


New data on Vision Loss and Prevalence is published

Lancet paper cover pageThe paper, published in the Lancet by the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG), provides the latest global estimates of the prevalence of blindness and MSVI. By analysing data from 1990 to 2015, the VLEG have employed a sophisticated methodology to produce detailed estimates, which also includes projections to 2020 for the first time.

IAPB-Rotary partnership

Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko signing the partnershipUnder the one-year partnership signed today by Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko and Vice President of IAPB Victoria Sheffield, Rotary clubs can partner with IAPB member agencies to provide access to continuous eye care and blindness prevention services. 

IAPB Council of Members

Thulasiraj Ravilla at the IAPB Council of Members 2017The IAPB Council of Member 2017 was attended by almost 300 participants from over 70 organisations across the globe making it the biggest CoM meeting in recent memory.

IAPB Vision Atlas launched

Cover of the Vision AtlasOn World Sight Day this year, a renewed IAPB Vision Atlas was launched with the latest data and projections by country or region from 1990 to 2015 including projections to 2020 and 2050. It also includes success indicators towards achieving the WHO Global Action Plan.

World Sight Day

World Sight Day logoWorld Sight Day 2017 was a huge success with oner 500 events in about a 100 countries making sure that eye health is recognised as a fundamental issue on a local and a global level. The #MakeVisionCount Photo Competition conducted for WSD received over 1100 eye care photos from around the world.

Eye Inspire launched

Eye Inspire logoLaunched on World Sight Day, Eye Inspire is a series of interviews – written, audio and video –with women and men from the eye care sector, whose work continues to inspire us all.

IAPB Western Pacific website update

IAPB Western Pacific website screenshotThe IAPB Western Pacific website has been updated to a responsive and modern interface. It is now integrated into the main IAPB website making the relationships clearer.

Peter Ackland to Step down

Peter Ackland at the Council of Members 2017 in KathmanduPeter Ackland announced his retirement from his role as CEO at the end of the year. The Board has appointed Johannes Trimmel as interim CEO of IAPB from 1 January 2018.



Joint policy on Diabetic Retinopathy

The global statement on diabetes and eye health released by Prof. Nam Han Cho, President IDF; Lindsey Washburn, Chief Operating Officer ICO; and Johannes Trimmel, Director of Advocacy, IAPBThe International Diabetes Federation, The International Council of Ophthalmology, the World Council of Optometry and the IAPB have put out a statement “Strengthening health systems to manage diabetic eye disease: Integrated care for diabetes and eye health” in support of this new, innovative approach to tackling the growing burden of diabetic eye disease.

IAPB Adds Value

IAPB allows member organisations to build connections and new relationships across the sector. The networking opportunities made possible during IAPB Councils and general assemblies and the collective role we place in advocacy for eye health is irreplaceable. Find out what some of our members have to say…

World Sight Day 2017

 578 events in 115 countries
See the World Sight Day 2017 Activities Report

Screenings / Operations    Awareness    Online Events    Walks / Processions    Seminars    Launches / Donations

Looking forward to 2018

Thanks to our supporters