RAAB7 – Better Data for Better Eye Health

A new and expanded version of the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey has officially launched, following extensive development and testing with leading eye health sector organisations. RAAB7 is delivered digitally using bespoke technology and enables faster, more accurate and more insightful data collection and analysis for effective eye health planning. Alongside the launch of the latest survey version, a new website has also been created to host historic and new RAAB data for use by researchers, health planners, public health officials and eye health NGOs. Indigo has funded part of the project.

About RAAB7

High-quality data is vital to understand the needs of a population in order to design and evaluate impactful eye health programmes to prevent vision loss. RAAB is a well-established population-based eye health survey which is used to assess the prevalence and causes of vision impairment and blindness among people aged 50 years and older, as well as recording priority eye care service indicators. The latest RAAB7 version replaces its predecessor (RAAB6) and provides enhanced functionality and greater efficiencies across multiple stages of the survey.

Powered by Peek Vision technology, RAAB7 includes new and updated features based on current eye health priorities to support users to capture the most accurate eye health planning data possible. Features include:

  • A mobile app with in-built validation checks for high-quality data collection
  • Integrated Peek Acuity app which has been clinically-validated to measure visual acuity
  • A new web platform with live data visibility to enable real-time survey monitoring
  • Data collection on a broader range of priority eye health and disability indicators
  • Custom reports and templates to help users easily interpret their data

RAAB7 has been developed as a collaboration between the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Peek, in consultation with a steering group of leading sector experts. Organisations represented on the steering group include the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG), the Vision Catalyst Fund, and major eye health non-governmental organisations including CBM, The Fred Hollows Foundation and Sightsavers.

Dr Hans Limburg, who first developed the RAAB methodology more than two decades ago and remains an active member of the RAAB7 steering group, said:

RAAB provides vital data for eye health planning and evaluation, but the surveys traditionally require many hours of manual data entry from paper-based forms, and this also increases the risk of inaccuracies. RAAB7 digitises and streamlines this process to save users time and resources. It enables them to collect the highest-quality data possible.

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, CEO of Peek Vision and Professor in International Eye Health at ICEH, said:

The number of people living with an untreated visual impairment is estimated to grow to almost 1.8 billion by 2050, due in part to the aging population. To address the global vision crisis we need reliable data and insights that are quick and efficient to gather and understand. RAAB7 has been designed with and for the eye health sector, powered by Peek technology. It is a powerful tool to support improvements in eye health service planning with the aim of preventing avoidable vision loss in millions of people around the world.

Why we became involved

A little under a year ago, Indigo decided to become involved with the work around RAAB7 for several reasons. As with so many other areas of life, eye health services and facilities around the world were hard hit by the pandemic. Many were only able to see patients on an emergency basis and lots of elective surgeries had to be postponed or cancelled as health personnel were moved from eye health work to help colleagues deal with the pandemic. This meant that the kinds of projects Indigo would ordinarily have funded were suspended or delayed. As such, we began to look more broadly at how we could help the eye health sector at this time.

It quickly became apparent that collection, publication and use of data in the eye health sector was a long-standing challenge. Yet access to accurate, up-to-date data is crucial in the planning and delivery of eye health services, especially in countries where resources are limited. RAAB data can clearly have great value in this regard by allowing eye health planners to understand local conditions and the prevalence and causes of visual impairment. For these reasons, we decided that funding RAAB7 could bring about significant impact and we look forward to working with the team further as they develop and refine the methodology and look to increase the use and value of the data.

Thanks to Peek Vision for the image used with this story.