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Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness: looking back, looking forward
  1. Islay Mactaggart1,
  2. Hans Limburg2,
  3. Andrew Bastawrous1,
  4. Matthew J Burton1,
  5. Hannah Kuper1
  1. 1 International Centre for Eye Health, Clinical Research Department, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2 Health Information Services, Grootebroek, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Hannah Kuper, Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK; hannah.kuper{at}


The Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness, or RAAB, is a relatively simple and low-cost survey methodology to provide data on the prevalence and causes of visual loss. The aim of this article is to reflect on the achievements and challenges of RAAB, and to describe the future developments that are needed to ensure that it remains a relevant and widely used tool. To date, at least 331 RAABs have been undertaken in 79 countries, and these surveys provide an important source of information on visual loss at both the local and global level. A RAAB repository has been developed which includes the site and date of RAABs undertaken, and, where authors have agreed, the core indicators, reports or even raw data from the survey. This dataset has already been used for meta-analyses, and there are further opportunities for its use. Despite these achievements, there are core areas in which RAAB needs to be strengthened so that the full benefits of undertaking the survey can be reaped. Key developments of RAAB are underway, and will include greater use of mobile technologies using a cloud-based platform to enable both digital data collection, real-time survey reviews, reporting and analysis, and a greater emphasis on using the data for planning.

  • epidemiology
  • public health

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  • Contributors The five authors form the task group for the new development of RAAB, described in the paper, and so are responsible for conceptualising and implementing these updates. AB is leading on the technical innovations to RAAB, and HL on the RAAB repository, both described in the review. IM and HK drafted the paper, which was reviewed by the remaining authors. All the authors read and approved the final version of the text.

  • Funding This work was supported by the CBM and the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. HK is supported by the PENDA grant from the Department for International Development. MJB is supported by the Wellcome Trust (207473/Z/17/Z).

  • Competing interests The Peek Vision Foundation (09919543) is a registered charity in England and Wales (1165960), with a wholly owned trading subsidiary, Peek Vision Ltd (09937174). MJB is a trustee of the Peek Vision Foundation and AB is the Chief Executive Officer of the Peek Vision Foundation and Peek Vision Ltd.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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