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 →
The theme of World Health Day 2017 is depression. Various studies conducted by ophthalmologists and researchers show that adults with vision loss were 90 percent more likely to have clinical symptoms of major depression. In addition, they specified that the connection between vision loss and depression is likely to be “bidirectional,” with the disability worsening depression and depression exacerbating disability.
“Improved access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment of depression by eye care professionals and primary care providers may help to reduce the burden of depression-related excess disability and improve the quality of life among people with vision loss,” they noted.
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.”
Kuwait: EYEZONE Magazine, the first optical magazine in the Middle East, has launched a comprehensive online directory called Eyezone Optiguide. It covers a whole gamut of data relevant in building optical business transactions such as a company’s basic info plus its overview, contact details, route maps, brand and product features, images, and videos, in addition to a plethora of upcoming optical shows and latest industry news. The directory has gone live on January 26, 2017 and can be accessed at www.optiguide.eyezonemag.com.
Aside from housing company basic portfolios and brand presentations, Eyezone Optiguide also publishes a chunkful of recent happenings within the optical market and are available in a straightforward, easy to use platform and search capabilities. The site serves as a helpful resource for companies in search for their ideal clients.
The listing is categorized as follows: frames and sunglasses, kids’ eyewear, ophthalmic lenses, clear and colored contact lenses, equipment, accessories, and decor. Moreover, the site offers an All In One Map for quick location-based lookup and a Help Center detailing the how-tos of the site. Eyezone Optiguide is also accessible on mobile devices and is surely promising to become a gold mine of optical business essentials worldwide.
Kuwait, Dec. 29, 2016: Ending 2016 with a blast, The Association of Filipino Optometrists in Kuwait (AFOK) celebrated the holiday seasons at the Millennium Hotel and Convention Centre, Salmiya to mark a milestone of enduring dedication to contributing to local public health. Spearheaded by representatives, Dr. Lorie Daclan Cometa, Dr. Dayna Hisoler, Dr. Jen Glino Maymay, Dr. Vicky Abalus, and Dr. Melvin Ramirez, the event highlighted the profession’s vital role in delivering top-drawer expertise to public service. The Association’s vision is to facilitate the upgrade of the optometric profession to the highest possible standard of practice, as well as to dedicate and commit themselves to charitable activities.
Hosted by Dr. Ariel De Roxas and Dr. Jingle Joy Triveles, the program commenced with recognition and awarding ceremonies of sponsors, one of which is Eyezone Institute of Opticianry, in appreciation of their support to the initiative. The community gathered to shower inspiration to fellow optometrists as they pursue their career paths, as well as, to nurture their professional goals while in practice. Insights on various topics such as keratoconus, prescribing lenses, and case studies, among others, were presented to the audience, in addition to tons of recreational activities. AFOK will be featured in the upcoming issue of EYEZONE Magazine.
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.
Oct 3, 2016: Announcement of winners of the Nobel Prize 2016 kicked off in the following categories: Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Peace, and Economic Science. Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, bagged the Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of mechanisms for autophagy. While the announcements continue and as we await awardees in other categories, let’s take a glimpse of the optical industry’s major contributors to scientific development.
Allvar Gullstrand (1862-1930)
Gullstrand, a Swedish ophthalmologist, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1911 for his study and research on “the eye as a light-refracting apparatus”. He contributed to knowledge of the structure and function of the cornea, as well as, to research studies on astigmatism. He also improved corrective lenses for use after surgery for cataracts and devised the Gullstrand slit lamp, a valuable diagnostic tool that facilitates detailed study of the eye. These investigations led to a new concept called “optical images”. Gullstrand was entirely self-taught in most of his geometric and physiological optic works. His major writings on physiological optics, along with his other works, received awards in various medical institutions.
In 1967, Granit, Hartline, and Wald jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contribution to the study of primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye. Hartline studied the inhibitory interaction in and the receptor properties of the Limulus retina. Wald discovered that Vitamin A is an important component of a light-sensitive substance in the retina, called rhodopsin, which is responsible for visual impressions in the brain. On the other hand, between the 1930s to 1950s, Granit studied the electrical impulses from the retina’s cells and demonstrated the different types of cones which are sensitive to light of three different wavelengths.
David H. Hubel (1926–2013)
In 1981, Hubel, a Canadian neurophysiologist, along with the Swedish neurophysiologist, Dr. Torsten Wiesel (1924), won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contribution to the study of visual perception and sensory deprivation “by measuring the electrical impulses of cells in the visual cortex”. They discovered that “vision does not develop normally if the brain fails to make connections with the eye during a critical window early in life”. The discovery played a major role in the development of systems in treating cataracts of infants in order to prevent vision impairment in its early stages. The study also lead to the development of treatment of strabismus.