Seasons greetings! As the weather gets colder everyone gets busy. Your eyes have to last you a lifetime, so taking care of them is incredibly important. Your lifestyle can cause significant strain on your eye health and can have a harmful effect on your sight, especially as you grow older. Here are some Tips to take good care of your eye health…
Glaucoma causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye (intraocular pressure), damaging the optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and currently affects 57.5 million people, and is expected to increase to 65.5 million by 2020.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is to lead a major new research project that aims to accelerate the elimination of trachoma. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is an alliance of civil society organisations, corporates and professional bodies promoting eye health through advocacy, knowledge and partnerships.
Every 20th of November, the United Nations promotes international togetherness in spreading awareness among children worldwide and improving children’s welfare with the Universal Children’s Day. Celebrated since 1990, it is the date the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, as well as, the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Read more
French-speaking countries in West Africa joined forces to eliminate trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, under a new initiative spearheaded by The Task Force’s International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). Representatives discussed funding, logistics, and supply-chain management issues around the mass drug administration of antibiotic for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem. Read more
This day marks World Sight Day, and organizations from all corners of the optical industry around the world gather to make their voices count. World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of global awareness on blindness and vision impairment co-ordinated by IAPB under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative.
Based on a new global data report published by IAPB Vision Atlas, 253 million people are visually impaired while 89% of these people live in low- and middle-income countries. Moreover, localised and restricted environment in marginalized communities, such as ill-planned infrastructure and technological barriers, confers eye health challenges to children. Read more
World Sight Day (WSD), held every second Thursday of October, is an annual day of awareness focusing global attention on blindness and vision impairment. Running in its fifth year of the WHO Global Action Plan, The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) encourages participants to continue with its rolling theme on Universal Eye Health, WHO’s Global Action Plan of 2014-19. The plan supports the provision of effective and accessible eye care services for effectively controlling visual impairment including blindness. Read more
Four years ago, Essilor, the market leader in ophthalmic optics with the mission to improve lives by improving sight, created dedicated teams to reach the 2.5 billion people across the globe who don’t have access to the vision correction they need. Since then, Essilor has launched and scaled-up new inclusive business models and deployed many non-profit initiatives to improve access to vision care in developing (and developed) nations. Read more
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) causes babies to needlessly lose their vision. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in premature infants in India.
INDIA, (IAPB), April 27, 2017 — The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the Public Health Foundation of India are launching a Retinopathy of Prematurity Initiative in the western state of Maharashtra. The project will train staff to screen for ROP, provide support services, and conduct research to tackle the disease.
India has the largest number of preterm births in the world. “Our goal is to help support sustainable and scalable services for the detection and prevention of severe retinopathy of prematurity which are integrated into the Government of India’s health care system”, explained Dr. Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive at the Trust. Read more
Glaucoma affects at least one in every 25 people aged 40 years and above in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It occurs as a result of the intraocular pressure (eye pressure [IOP]) being too high for the normal functioning of the optic nerve which is responsible for sight. Despite the vision loss that it causes, over half of the people with glaucoma are unaware and this is reflected in their late presentation in seeking care. A staggering 50% have already lost vision in one eye and are at high risk of losing vision in the second eye by the time they seek treatment.
There are three main modalities for treatment of glaucoma: medical, surgical or laser therapy. The choice of intervention currently depends on several factors related to the patient: stage/severity at presentation, compliance with health instruction, socio-economic status influencing ability to afford medicines and care, and residence in relation to follow-up. For example, the literate relative of a medical doctor may have medical therapy with 3-monthly follow-up; whereas for a rural non-schooled farmer, the better option may be a one-off surgical treatment (trabeculectomy) with follow-up in the local health centre.
The aim of treatment is to lower the IOP in order to prevent or slow down further vision loss, as any vision already lost cannot be restored. The prognosis when explained is often a source of anxiety to the newly diagnosed patients. Some patients do not accept their diagnosis nor comply with the treatment plan nor accept the prognosis. This leads them to seek multiple opinions in different hospitals, hopping and hoping.
Mrs CP is a 61-year old woman diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma:
“The vision impairment came in my adulthood. In fact, I did not know I had vision impairment, it came quite slowly. Now they say I have to use eye drops for the rest of my life. I cannot even find the drugs to buy and when I find they are so expensive, I cannot afford to buy. Even putting the eye drops is a problem as much of it runs down my face. And it stings.
My vision has worsened. I am tired. I have gone around so many eye clinics without any improvement. In fact, the teaching hospital is worst. I can hardly see and I was asked to go to so many points, pay so many times, wait for so long before I could see the specialist. And to think I have to do this for the rest of my life…Ah!!
I was already blind in one eye and the other eye is also going. Now they said I should have operation in my better eye… God forbid bad thing!! Let me just manage, when I have the money, I will buy the eye drops from the chemist.”
It is, therefore, imperative that we set our current priorities to:
1. Optimising treatment and patients’ care – i.e. doing the best for those who seek care.
2. Responding to patients’ perspectives with patients’ participation.
Strengthening clinical services would include training in surgical skills, laser procedures and building teams for optimal glaucoma care, for better treatment outcomes. Ensuring that effective medicines are available within well-equipped centres would also expand the treatment choices. Additionally, national guidelines and protocols would be helpful in optimising the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Population-based surveys in SSA indicate that only about 10% of glaucoma patients seek hospital treatment. Additionally, there is a challenge in keeping patients within the health care system. To engage the patient, there should be counselling to enhance their understanding of the disease and encourage participation of the patient in their choice of therapy and compliance with treatment. The ease of financing mechanisms for their treatment is also important. Additional efforts should be geared towards providing a pleasant hospital experience so that a follow-up visit would entail a one-stop shop.
Eye care providers working together with patients with glaucoma will enhance better treatment outcomes in SSA and together they can be BIG; Beat Invisible Glaucoma.
The article above was written by Fatima Kyari, Consultant Ophthalmologist, IAPB West Africa Chair.