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Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services

Understand global blindness and how to plan effective eye care with this online course for health professionals.

14,088 enrolled on this course

Happy women after cataract surgery, Nepal © Sunita Kunwar K.C. / IAPB CC BY-NC-SA https://flic.kr/p/LwTSAM

Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services

14,088 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Find out how to plan and manage eye care, to avoid blindness

Around the world, 285 million people are blind or visually impaired. 75% of this is avoidable and 90% is in low- and middle-income countries. In this online course we highlight the key facts about avoidable blindness and global initiatives to address it.


Content on this course is also provided in Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese:

A separate French course is available: La Cécité dans le Monde: Planifier et Gérer les Services de Soins Oculaires

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds My name’s Allen Foster. And I’m the co-director of the International Centre of Eye Health, which is at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. ICEH was started about 35 years ago. And it’s involved in doing research and education in order to prevent visual loss and blindness around the world. There are 285 million visually impaired people in the world, of which an estimated 39 million are blind. And the major causes for the visual impairment and blindness are two diseases– cataract and refractive errors. Most of the blindness in the world is in low-income and poor communities. And so the challenge is to get the services for cataract, which is very treatable, and also for refractive error– spectacles– to these communities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds And if we can do that, then we can prevent and treat most of the visual impairment and blindness in the world, and we can give people the opportunity to look after their families, to work, and also to have the quality of life that we all need, for which vision is essential. [Dr Daksha Patel] At present, we have the ability to treat and even prevent over two thirds of global vision impairment. We even have established treatments, like cataract surgery and spectacle correction. However, the challenge in many low- and middle-income countries is we need to align very few eye health specialists with limited infrastructure to deliver on efficient and effective eye care services.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds In this course, we will examine the existing services and, through a logical process, begin to consider the steps that are required to plan and implement quality services within local health systems. We will discuss with experts practical, tried and tested methods that are in use at present but also begin to consider the role of innovation to strengthen health provision. This course is suitable for you if you are a health provider, an eye health specialist, a public health advisor, or an NGO or charity working in low- and middle-income countries. [Professor Allen Foster] If we continue in this way, then the number of blind and visually impaired will increase.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds And this will be particularly true in the poorer areas of the world, like Africa and Asia. But the point is that actually, cataract and refractive error is treatable, and therefore if we can get services to these populations, then we can reduce the number of blind people in the world.

What topics will you cover?

  • Epidemiological data on the causes and prevalence of blindness and visual impairment
  • VISION 2020: The Right to Sight
  • The Global Action Plan 2014-2019
  • Key public health strategies for cataract and refractive error
  • Health systems strengthening
  • The essentials of the planning process for eye care programmes
  • The principles of monitoring and evaluation

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the magnitude and causes of blindness and visual impairment, both globally and locally.
  • Evaluate the key public health control strategies to strengthen service provision for cataract and refractive error in your local setting.
  • Apply the essentials of the planning process for implementation in your setting.
  • Assess the relevance of the Vision 2020: the right to sight initiative and the applicability of Global action plan 2014-2019 to your local setting.
  • Interpret the relevance of monitoring and evaluation for effective management of an eye care service.

Who is the course for?

This course is intended for all health care providers, health managers, NGO staff with an interest and some experience of, eye care health services. The course will especially benefit:

  • Eye health providers who lead or manage the service provision of an eye unit or eye care team
  • All clinical eye care providers who work in isolated and remote settings
  • Eye care providers with an interest in public health approaches
  • Any health providers and managers with an interest in resource limited eye care services
  • Non-governmental staff involved in developing eye care projects in low- and middle-income countries
  • Charity organisations and philanthropists involved in supporting eye care service provision
  • Ophthalmic residents and nurses in training programmes with an interest in low- and middle-income health services
  • Trainers in academic institutions with an interest in developing training in public health approaches for eye care service provision for their local setting.

What do people say about this course?

"This course is excellent in explaining how to set aims and objectives and the relevance of national and local planning for eye care."

"The information passed on this platform is invaluable! I express my gratitude to the organisers. Thank you."

Who will you learn with?

Associate Professor in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness. Academic lead for the Open education for Eye Health

Assistant Professor, Microbiologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness. Co-academic lead for Open Education for Eye Health at LSHTM.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 4 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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