According to World Health Organization (WHO) calculations, in 2010 more than 26 million people in the Region of the Americas suffered from a visual impairment. More than 3 million of them were blind and most were over the age of 50. However, nearly 80% of these cases could have been avoided.
In response to these problems, in 2013 the World Health Assembly (WHA) approved Universal Eye Health – a Global Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2014-2019. The Strategic Plan of the Pan American Health Organization 2014–2019, approved by the Directing Council in 2013, also gives priority to eye health in the context of reducing preventable disability, providing access to rehabilitation services, and promoting better health and living conditions.
This Plan of Action for the Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014–2019 is the Organization’s response to the challenges indicated above, offering concrete action to address the Region’s priorities for the prevention of blindness. The Plan of Action 2014–2019 is designed to continue and step up efforts by the Member States, the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, and international partners to continue improving eye health and prevent avoidable blindness and visual impairments.