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This content is taken from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's online course, Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsDAKSHA PATEL: Hello, and welcome to this course on global blindness-- planning and managing eye care services. My name is Daksha Patel, and I'm the lead educator throughout this course. In this course, we will describe the global picture of visual impairment and blindness, and also look at the strategies that can be applied to manage blindness at a local level. Each week, I will introduce you to the content. We will use a range of activities, such as video, interviews with experts, reading articles, doing quizzes, and also case study for the application of learning.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsIn this first week, we will begin by describing some basic principles of epidemiology and the WHO definition for visual impairment and blindness. And then using this information, we'll begin by considering how big is this problem of visual impairment and blindness, where and who is affected by it, and what are the main causes? In this week, we have a presentation by Professor Alan Foster in which he highlights some of the lessons that were learned from the Gambia Eye Programme. We encourage you to participate on our discussion forums by posting your thoughts and reflections about the course and the learning, and also about your own experiences.

Welcome to the course and Week 1

Welcome to the course, Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services. I’m Dr Daksha Patel from the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Lead Educator for the course.

Older woman with bilateral cataracts

Older woman with bilateral cataracts © MM Farrahmand CC BY-NC 2.0 http://flic.kr/p/9oSkWC

Examine the image of the woman with bilateral cataracts. It’s unlikely that she can see beyond a hand movement in front of her face. Where is she? Why hasn’t she received an operation? Are there many more like her? What needs to be done to ensure that no one is needlessly blind? Over the next six weeks we will explore how we, as health providers, can make sure that high quality, timely and affordable treatment can be made available to all those that need it.

Course aims

The main goal of this course is to enable eye care providers to deliver an effective and efficient eye care service for the prevention of avoidable blindness. To achieve this we will explore the key building blocks of eye care services through five learning objectives. During this course you will:

  1. Examine the magnitude and causes of blindness and visual impairment, both globally and locally.
  2. Relate to the VISION 2020: The right to sight concept and to the Global Action Plan 2014-2019 and its application to your own setting.
  3. Evaluate the key public health control strategies to strengthen service provision for cataract and refractive error in your local setting.
  4. Understand and apply the essentials of the planning process for implementation in your setting.
  5. Apply the principles of monitoring and evaluation.

Throughout the course’s six week duration we will use articles, mini-lectures, interviews with experts in the field, and provide links to further reading in order to meet these objectives. We encourage you to assess your learning through quizzes and share your experiences and views through discussion with fellow learners and the course team.

We focus on cataract and refractive error services in this short course as these two eye diseases are responsible for three quarters of global visual impairment. Much of what you will learn is applicable to the whole of an eye care service.

We hope that you will find the course valuable and that it will provide you with guidance on how to improve eye care service delivery in your local setting.

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This video is from the free online course:

Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine