The IAPB Vision Atlas

VA-World-Data-Infographic-3-IWBThe IAPB Vision Atlas website is a compilation of the very latest data and evidence relevant to all those who believe that in the 21st Century no one should have to live with avoidable blindness or sight loss – from eye conditions many of which can be easily treated or prevented and for which cost-effective solutions are readily available.

The IAPB Vision Atlas is designed around two main sets of data: the estimates of the burden of blindness and visual impairment made by the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) and national level performance against the key indicators laid out in the World Health Assembly resolution 66.4 ‘Universal Eye Health: a Global Action Plan 2014 – 2019’ (the GAP). VLEG data – a comprehensive database of prevalence eye surveys – provides prevalence of blindness and visual impairment estimates from 1990 to 2015, with projections to 2020. The maps have a new design and can be viewed for all ages or for adults over 50. Introduced on World Sight Day 2017, we have additional maps for the 21 GBD Regions showing Causes and the numbers affected by Near-Vision Loss. The GAP indicator data – a limited, initial survey of available data – gives you CSR/CSC data, human resources and national planning data.

These data sets provide a wealth of information relevant to policy makers, health planners, eye health professionals, NGOs, patient groups and advocates. Given that so much of avoidable sight loss is a consequence of inequity and lack of access for the most disadvantaged members of our global community, the IAPB Vision Atlas is an important resource for those responsible for achieving Universal Health Coverage and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The VLEG and GAP data are supplemented with a number of articles specially commissioned for the IAPB Vision Atlas. These include a focus on the exciting potential to eliminate Trachoma and Onchocerciasis within the next decade, diseases that have ravaged communities for centuries. Such optimism is tempered by articles on the global explosion in the number of people with Myopia and diabetes that threaten to reverse the reduction in vision loss prevalence we have seen over the past 25 years, together with a seemingly inexorable rise in Presbyopia. Other articles focus on the socio-economic impact of vision loss, the cost effectiveness of eye care solutions and case studies on programme approaches and financing of eye health. The IAPB Vision Atlas also identifies a wealth of resources available to help combat avoidable visual impairment and, for those less familiar with the sector, an introduction to the main eye conditions.

This website was launched on 27th October 2016 at IAPB’s 10th General Assembly, substantially updated for World Sight Day 2017 (on 12th October) and will be periodically updated as new data is obtained.

The website will be followed by a published form of the IAPB Vision Atlas that will include all the latest VLEG data covering the period up to 2015. Apart from updating the prevalence estimates for distance vision loss, the new VLEG data, for the first time, includes estimates of near-vision loss. This, together with a more comprehensive breakdown of the causes of visual impairment and projections of prevalence to 2050, provides a rich mix of information and new evidence.

The production of the IAPB Vision Atlas has been the result of the collective endeavours of many people. IAPB is indebted to the authors of the various sections that make up the IAPB Vision Atlas and thanks them all for their time and their willingness to share their expertise. Our thanks are extended to all members of the steering committee for their guidance on the content of the IAPB Vision Atlas. Special thanks go to Professor Serge Resnikoff who has been a sounding board for so many aspects of the IAPB Vision Atlas. Our sincere thanks go to all members of the VLEG and particularly Professor Rupert Bourne for his leadership and inspiration to make the VLEG estimates as accessible as possible. In terms of the GAP data, special thanks are due to my IAPB colleagues John Trevelyan, Ronnie Graham, Simon Day, Damian Facciolo, Yuddha Dhoj Sapkota, Mansur Rabiu and Luis Perez for their diligence in collecting data from national co-ordinators and other sources.

The design of the IAPB Vision Atlas, both in print and on this website, is the key to its ultimate success. Special thanks are due to our colleagues at Red Giant – Ian Bond, Martin Sharrocks and Georgia Stefanescu – and my IAPB colleagues Joanna Conlon and Tejah Balantrapu for their creativity.

Last, but by no means least, our very sincere thanks are afforded to our six sponsors. Without their contribution the Vision Atlas would not have happened.

The existence of hundreds of millions of people who are blind or visually impaired from treatable or preventable causes is a shameful social injustice that reflects poorly on the state of the world we live in. It is my hope that the IAPB Vision Atlas will be a powerful tool in the fight to redress the inequities and failings that give rise to this injustice.

Peter Ackland
IAPB Chief Executive