Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness: looking back, looking forward
The Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness, or RAAB, is a relatively simple and low-cost survey methodology to provide data on the prevalence and causes of visual loss. The aim of this article is to reflect on the achievements and challenges of RAAB, and to describe the future developments that are needed to ensure that it remains a relevant and widely used tool. To date, at least 331 RAABs have been undertaken in 79 countries, and these surveys provide an important source of information on visual loss at both the local and global level. A RAAB repository has been developed which includes the site and date of RAABs undertaken, and, where authors have agreed, the core indicators, reports or even raw data from the survey. This dataset has already been used for meta-analyses, and there are further opportunities for its use. Despite these achievements, there are core areas in which RAAB needs to be strengthened so that the full benefits of undertaking the survey can be reaped. Key developments of RAAB are underway, and will include greater use of mobile technologies using a cloud-based platform to enable both digital data collection, real-time survey reviews, reporting and analysis, and a greater emphasis on using the data for planning.