Preventing avoidable blindness


Chris Williams, Keith Waddell, John Sandford Smith, Chris O'Callaghan

254 million people worldwide are visually impaired or blind, with 90% of visually impaired people living in resource poor countries. 75% of sight limiting disease is preventable or treatable, and treatments such as cataract surgery are amongst the most cost-effective medical interventions.

Preventing avoidable blindness through health worker education


  • To develop a video intense multimedia education resource in eye health to support the VISION 2020 challenge to eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide
  • To work with partners in sub-Saharan Africa to collect high definition clinical videos of eye disease
  • Evaluate the impact of the resource on clinical skills
  • Ensure not-for-profit distribution

We developed a series of multimedia tutorials, using high-definition video filmed in Uganda and Tanzania, covering:

  • Assessing visual acuity
  • Assessing the eye
  • Practical eye procedures
  • Red and irritated eye
  • Loss of vision
  • Eye injury
  • Prescribing glasses

The resource also contains an atlas of eye disease and reference details for common eye medications, with prescribing information.


The resource is now available on DVD and on the World Medical Education website, as a free, open-access resource.  A randomised controlled trial and feedback has confirmed:-

  • Students exposed to the multimedia resource had significantly better clinical skills, and were more likely to reach a satisfactory standard in assessing and treating eye problems
  • Learner feedback from doctors, medical students and eye health workers has also been extremely positive
  • Educators are enthusiastic about how the materials will help them to deliver training


Eliminating avoidable blindness amongst the world's poorest people

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