Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) Survey

Date of Completion
December 2022

Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP)

Measure the prevalence of main blindness and vision impairment. Determine coverage and quality of cataract surgical services. Identify barriers to cataract surgical services.

Ethiopia has one of the highest burdens of blindness and vision impairment worldwide. However, the only nationwide blindness survey was conducted 16 years ago in 2005/6. This research project provided representative, population-based estimate of the magnitude and causes of blindness and vision impairment in 50 years and older population through Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) Survey in West Gojam Zone and Bahirdar City Administrations.

Key Findings
The prevalence of blindness in people aged ≥50 years was 2.8% in the study population.
The three most common causes of blindness were cataract (43.4%), glaucoma (14.8%) and age-related macular degeneration (13.9%).
The four most causes of severe visual impairment were untreated cataract (60.7%), posterior segment diseases (8.9%), trachomatous corneal opacity (7.1%) and cataract surgical complications (7.1%) were the major causes of severe visual impairment.
The Cataract Surgical Coverage (CSC) and effective CSC in people with VA<3/60 was 72.5% and 51.4%, respectively.
A total of 59.0% of eyes operated for cataract had good outcome (could see ≥6/18 or better), and 27.4% had poor outcome (could not see 6/60) with the available correction.
Unable to access treatment and unaware that treatment is possible were the most cited barriers to cataract surgery.