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 →
Among those to receive the 2017 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards is Jordanian optometrist and Chairman of the optometry department at Amman Ahliyah University, Dr. Yazan Gammoh. Clinically focusing on keratoconus management using scleral contact lenses, as well as, low vision management in adults, Dr. Gammoh has spent 5 years lecturing and training at universities, symposia, and conferences in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) introduced the award way back in 2014 “to recognize and reward achievements in contact lens education worldwide”, which grants one educator from each of IACLE’s global regions, namely, Asia Pacific, Europe/Africa/Middle East, and the Americas.
Also receiving the award are Prof. Jan Bergmanson (USA), Prof. Koon-Ja Lee (Korea), and Prof. Martha Lucila Márquez García (Colombia). The presentation proper will be held on June 11, 2017 in Liverpool, UK.
Nepal Ophthalmic Society is hosting XIV SAARC Academy of Ophthalmology Congress in Kathmandu, Nepal from 21st to 24th June 2018.
More than 1000 Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and other cadre of eye care professional from eight SAARC countries, experts and speakers from all over the world, are expected to participate in this ophthalmic scientific gathering taking place in Himalayan Nation.
The theme of this congress is identified as “From Darkness to Light”.
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.
CHICAGO (March, 2017) – Prevent Blindness, the oldest volunteer eye health and safety group in the USA, and Allergan (NYSE: AGN), a global leader in eye care for nearly 70 years, have embarked on a joint effort to promote healthy vision. As part of their recently launched ‘See America’ initiative, Allergan is working with Prevent Blindness to sponsor vision screening events across the country to help provide adults with access to quality vision care. As well as learning about the leading causes of preventable blindness and vision loss, attendees will receive a free Prevent Blindness certified vision screening, referral to professional eye care and financial assistance as needed.
According to the recent Prevent Blindness study, “The Future of Vision, Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” vision loss in the United States is projected to grow by 135 percent from 4.4 million to more than 10 million people by 2050.
Along with the increase in the prevalence of vision problems, the total real cost of vision problems is expected to increase by 157 percent from $145 billion in 2014 to $373 billion by 2050.
“We cannot wait any longer to address America’s vision health threats,” said Herm Cukier, Senior Vice President of Eye Care at Allergan, who is leading the See America initiative. “By working together with groups like Prevent Blindness, we can directly impact individuals who are at-risk for vision problems and those who are currently experiencing vision loss. Through education and direct access to vision care, we can fight against preventable blindness and vision impairment.”
See America’s commitment to increasing awareness of diseases that cause preventable blindness extends beyond these initial one day events, as Allergan is providing support for ongoing program initiatives in the communities Prevent Blindness serves.
“Prevent Blindness thanks Allergan for their valued partnership and continued commitment to vision and eye health programs,” said Hugh R. Parry, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Working with our affiliates around the country, the See America program will make a tremendous impact toward protecting the precious gift of sight.”
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, 6 March 2017 — Eminent ophthalmologist, Professor Usha Chakravarthy, Queen’s University, Belfast, will feature on the main stage at Optrafair on Sunday, 2nd April at 11:45 am. Professor Chakravarthy is at the forefront of pioneering research including the NICOLA study, a long-term study looking at the effects of aging on the eyes which will help shape major government healthcare policies in the future.
“My lecture will explore how multimodal imaging can increase the optometrist’s diagnostic confidence and improve patient care through early disease identification” explains Professor Chakravarthy. “I will discuss the interpretation of retinal pathology using the latest fundus and OCT imaging techniques and how patients can be managed post-treatment in the community care setting.”
1 March 2017 – Vision for a Nation (VFAN) has now helped over one million people to access eye care services across Rwanda. The award-winning UK charity has supported Rwanda’s Ministry of Health to successfully build an affordable nationwide eye care service that is locally available to all the nation’s 10.5 million people and is fully integrated into the public health system.
The service is provided at all of Rwanda’s 502 local health centres by certified nurses trained by VFAN to provide eye care since 2013. A nationwide outreach programme launched in 2015 is extending the service to 100% of Rwanda’s 15,000 villages to maximise awareness and address the huge backlog of need. Over 1.2m eye screenings, 560,000 medication prescriptions, 144,000 referrals for specialist treatment and 109,000 pairs of glasses have been provided to date.
Theophile – a textile worker reliant on her sight – is one of the 1+ million people helped by VFAN. She says: “Now that I have these glasses, I am not worried for my job anymore. The glasses help me in my job, and that way I am able to continue to provide for my family.”
Tom Rosewall, CEO of VFAN, comments: “Rwanda is the first emerging country in the world to provide all of its people with local access to affordable eye care. In only four years the service that we have helped build throughout the nation has served more than one million people – 10% of the population. With complete integration within Rwanda’s public health system, it will continue to help people long into the future. We are now working to take our ground-breaking approach to other countries around the world”.
In observance of World Sight Day 2016, Our Children’s Vision, in collaboration with Eyezone Institute of Opticianry, joined hands to raise awareness of vision impairment worldwide. Following IAPB‘s lead of the call to action, #StrongerTogether, Our Children’s Vision demonstrates that their partners have a common goal and are committed to working together to achieve it. The feature video includes great comments from some of the global leaders in optical education, research, and health initiatives: Peter Ackland, Maureen Cavanagh, Susan Cooper, Clive Miller, Howard Purcell, Kovin Naidoo, Amanda Davis, Kim Schuy, and Jayanth Bhuvaraghan.
The message was passed across various social media platforms of Our Children’s Vision and Eyezone Institute. Check out some highlights of the campaign posts.
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
2016 is the fourth year of the WHO Global Action Plan and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), an umbrella organisation that conducts international efforts and mobilizes resources for blindness prevention activities, encourages its members and partners to continue with its rolling theme which is Universal Eye Health.
This year, the ‘Call to Action’ for World Sight Day is Stronger Together.
WSD is co-ordinated by IAPB under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. The theme and certain core materials are generated by IAPB. All events are organised independently by members and supporter organisations.