The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness was established on January 1, 1975 by the World Blind Union (WBU) and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) with the vision:  A world in which no one is needlessly visually impaired, where everyone has access to the best possible standard of eye health, and where those with irreparable vision loss achieve their full potential.
Its mission is to achieve universal access to eye health, by:

  • Adding value and maximizing the impact of the individual and collective work of its members, including those who fight for the inclusion and rehabilitation of people with sight loss,
  • Promote knowledge and awareness for the development of a comprehensive eye health system, particularly at the national level.

IAPB now has more than 150 organizations (professional bodies, non-governmental organizations, associations, foundations, educational institutions, etc.) in over 100 countries working together to ensure quality eye care for everyone.


The extent of eye-related problems

According to AIPC, +1.1 billion people worldwide were living with vision loss in 2020. 90 million children have vision loss because they do not have access to eye care services. 90% of people living with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries. Elderly (+50 years old), women and girls as well as people with disabilities are the most affected.
90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable.
Vision loss results in a lost of productivity of $410.7 billion per year.

Discover all the latest data and evidence on eye health around the world in IAPB's Vision Atlas here.

The video below provides an overview of the magnitude of visual impairment and of blindness and how to adress these challenges. 


The Foundation benefits enormously from the expertise of Drew Keys, particularly in the context of the selection of its projects. Check out his portrait below.

Drew Keys is the Regional Program Manager, Western Pacific, for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. He has degrees in Law and Asian Studies and a background working in retail management. For six years, he lived in-and-out of Papua New Guinea as General Manager of PNG Eye Care (Papua New Guinea) and Project Manager PNG & Pacific for the Brien Holden Vision Institute. Part of his remit was working to strengthen the PNG National Prevention of Blindness Committee, especially partner coordination. This proved crucial to support for the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, a Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness and the refurbishment of a National Resource Centre for ophthalmology training at the University of Papua New Guinea – significantly challenging projects for any country, the more so PNG, but all successfully delivered during Drew’s tenure. Now four years into the role at IAPB, Drew has taken the challenge of coordinating disparate stakeholders to the broader canvas of thirty plus countries in the Western Pacific.

Photo Drew