News

  • Specsavers and IGA partnership to raise glaucoma awareness

    PRESS RELEASE
    17 February 2017

    Specsavers and the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) are joining up in a million pound health information campaign to raise awareness of glaucoma and encourage people to have regular eye examinations.

    Glaucoma – often described as the ‘silent thief of sight’ due to its gradual onset – causes damage to the optic nerve. It affects 600,000 in the UK and more than 64 million people worldwide making it the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally .

    The campaign begins by highlighting research findings that men are at greater risk of losing their sight than women because they ignore warning signs and do not seek medical attention. The research, which focused on glaucoma, was carried out by City University and showed that men are 16% more likely than women to suffer advanced vision loss on diagnosis of the condition.

    Timed to coincide with World Glaucoma Week , which runs from 12 to 18 March, the campaign will include TV and national press advertising, online activity and posters and health information in Specsavers’ 770 stores nationwide.

    Welcoming the partnership, Karen Osborn, CEO of the IGA, says: ‘Glaucoma is found in 2% of the UK’s population aged over 40 . Most of those people have a slow developing form of the condition and we estimate that half of all cases – that’s over 300,000 people – remain undiagnosed and are unaware that they are slowly losing their sight.

    ‘Research shows more men than women are expected to be in this group because they simply do not seek medical treatment as readily as women.

    ‘The health awareness campaign the IGA is working on with Specsavers will educate about the importance of regular eye examinations before significant sight is lost. Once sight is lost, it cannot be recovered..’

    The Specsavers IGA partnership follows a similar agreement between Specsavers and Royal National Institute of Blind People announced last August. The logos of all three organisations will appear at the end of the Specsavers TV ad which airs from Sunday onwards.

    Sally Harvey, Chief Executive of RNIB, says: ‘We welcome any initiative that encourages people to look after their eye health.

    ‘Regular eye tests and early detection on the high street, followed by timely intervention and management of eye health conditions, could help save your sight.’

    Doug Perkins, Co-founder of Specsavers and an optometrist for more than 50 years, is delighted by the partnerships with the IGA and RNIB.

    He says, ‘Working together with people who are so committed to eye health and do such amazing work is a real privilege. I am looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them.’

    Following Specsavers’ drive last year for all its optometrists to be Level 2 accredited in minor eye conditions, the focus has switched to glaucoma accreditation. By World Glaucoma Week, every Specsavers store will have at least one optometrist who has completed the WOPEC (Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre) Level 1 glaucoma accreditation, reinforcing their skills in detecting glaucoma and monitoring the signs of its progression, with Level 2 set to be achieved by all optometrists by September.

    - ends -

    Image – Optometrist performs glaucoma assessment

    About the International Glaucoma Association:
    • The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma. Its mission is to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit: www.glaucoma-association.com
    • Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a registered charity in England and Wales, and also in Scotland
    • As part of its support services, the IGA operates the Sightline (telephone helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.
    • For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 70 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).
    • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland close relatives of people with glaucoma who are aged 40 plus can have a sight test and examination by an optometrist which is paid for by the NHS, and everyone aged 60 and over is entitled to free testing. In Scotland, the NHS will pay for glaucoma examinations offered by optometrists, regardless of age.

    Specsavers notes to editors:
    • Specsavers is a partnership of almost 2,000 locally-run businesses throughout the world -all committed to delivering high quality, affordable optical and hearing care in the communities they serve.
    • Each store is part-owned and managed by its own joint venture partners who are supported by key specialists in support offices.
    • More than 31 million customers used Specsavers in 2016 and the partnership had a turnover of more than £2bn.
    • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers.
    • Specsavers is a champion of the National Health Service – of its 19.2m customers in the UK, 60% are from the NHS and the company is the largest provider of free NHS digital hearing aids.
    • Specsavers supports several UK charities and is in partnership with RNIB for a public awareness campaign to transform the nation’s eye health.

    About RNIB
    • Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are RNIB (The Royal National Institute of Blind People) and we're here for everyone affected by sight loss – that's over 2 million people in the UK.

    Read more

  • Events for Visually Impaired Visitors January – March 2017

     

    vvvAll V&A events are accessible to blind or partially sighted visitors, and an accompanying friend or carer may claim free entry. We also offer concessionary entry to V&A exhibitions for blind or partially sighted visitors and free entry for up to 2 friends or carers.

    We hope your visit to the V&A will be easy and enjoyable. To arrange for specific support, please contact the V&A Contact Centre.

    If you would like to receive this newsletter via email in future, please email us at disability@vam.ac.uk.

    All events start from the Meeting Point, Grand Entrance.

    TOUCH TOURS & DESCRIPTIVE TOURS:

    Glastonbury: Land and Legend (Descriptive Tour)

    Tuesday 17 January, 11.0012.00

    The Camera Exposed (Descriptive Tour)

    Thursday 16 February 2017, 11.00 – 12.00

    Exploration and Exploitation (Touch Tour)

    Wednesday 8 March 2017, 11.00 – 12.00

    Free, advanced booking essential

    To book: Call 020 7942 2211

    Fax 020 7942 2524

    Email: bookings.office@vam.ac.uk

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  • IGA Response to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) Driven to despair, “How drivers have been let down by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency”, 20 October 2016

    Comments Karen Osborn, Chief Executive International Glaucoma Association

    “The IGA welcomes the findings and recommendations in the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report, and in particular the need for clear evidence-based standards to assess whether people with glaucoma are fit to drive.

    The IGA has been alerted to many of the issues covered in this report by our members. This has led to a positive relationship being developed with the DVLA Drivers Medical Group, resulting in improvements around administration and communication. There is now clearer information about the tests and testing conditions that drivers with glaucoma should expect when visiting the DVLA approved Specsavers store, when a person can seek a second opinion if a licence is revoked (and the process for this), as well as a named contact at the DVLA for people with glaucoma to approach about their application.

    But more scientific research and evaluation is needed to decide whether one of the standards used to assess the ability of people with glaucoma to drive safely, called the visual field test, is fit for purpose.  When a decision to revoke a licence is life-changing, the applicant must have confidence that the test being used is appropriate, robust and equitable.

    We are concerned that statistics from the DVLA show that 62 per cent of car drivers and 35 per cent of bus, lorry and coach drivers’ who contest the original revocation decision, are subsequently found safe to drive. If the Government and the DVLA were to invest in more realistic tests of visual function, this would benefit not just drivers with glaucoma but patients with, or at risk of all types of visual disability.

    If anyone feels that a driving licence revocation has been made that does not reflect their own understanding of their safety to drive, we urge them to discuss this with their own optometrist and then talk to the DVLA. Our helpline, Sightline can provide details of the process”.

    The International Glaucoma Association is the charity for people with glaucoma, providing a free helpline and patient literature. Call 01233 64 81 70 or email: info@iga.org.uk. www.glaucoma-association.com

     Click here for a copy of the report.

    -ends-

     

    Notes for editors:

    • *references available

    For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact: Karen Brewer, Head of Communications on: 01223 64 81 69 or email k.brewer@iga.org.uk

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  • NATIONAL EYE HEALTH WEEK: TOP SURGEON WARNS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF MISSING GLAUCOMA TREATMENT

    As part of the IGA’s ‘It’s Black or White, Save your Sight. Use your Eye Drops.’ campaign, for this year’s National Eye Health Week* (19-25 September), IGA Chair and Consultant Ophthalmologist, Keith Barton warns that correct and regular instillation of eye drops is essential to control glaucoma.

    There are an estimated 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged, usually by excessive pressure within the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to serious loss of vision, with up to 40 per cent of sight being permanently lost before the effects are noticed by the individual.   Fortunately glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness and for the majority of glaucoma patients, daily eye drops are a simple solution to control their condition and save their sight.

    For this year’s campaign, the IGA will be focusing on the issues that they know people with glaucoma face when it comes to taking eye drops. Mr Barton comments, “Most people diagnosed with glaucoma will be able to manage their own treatment by taking eye drops. Used regularly they help to keep the eye pressure to an appropriate level, reducing the risk of visual loss. If you are having difficulty, talk to your ophthalmologist or contact the IGA who can help and provide advice.”

    A recent study showed that 57% of glaucoma patients have some difficulty administering eye drops[1]. Reasons for not taking eye drops correctly included: forgetting when doses were due (38%), difficulty with the dropper bottle (18%), difficulty getting drops in the eye (11%) and not having medication to hand (10%).”

    Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of the IGA comments, ‘We know from calls to our helpline and from patient support groups that many glaucoma patients are not told that eye drops are a lifelong treatment and are not told how to administer their drops correctly. For this year’s National Eye Health Week our ‘It’s Black or White, Save Your Sight’ campaign aims to educate glaucoma patients nationwide about the importance of administering their eye drops correctly and our new poster for hospitals, GPs’ surgeries and pharmacies gives a step by step guide to taking eye drops.'

    More information can be obtained from the IGA website, www.glaucoma-association.com or by calling 01233 64 81 70 where staff are available Monday to Friday 9.30-5.00pm. There are also more than 70 patient support groups throughout the country. These groups allow patients to meet with health professionals and talk about glaucoma and related treatments in a more relaxed, informal setting. To make a donation to the IGA, visit the IGA Just Giving page.

    Note to editors: [1] Research carried out by FreshMinds Research, on behalf of The College of Optometrists between 30 April 2010 and 12 May 2010 amongst a panel of 4,004 respondents.

    Glaucoma Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the back of the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.

    *National Eye Health Week

    National Eye Health Week is an annual event where eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.

    For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact:

    Annabel Hillary, 07884 430862, annabel@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk

    Or Mary-Jane Greenhalgh, 07866 722051, maryjane@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk or Karen Brewer on: DD: 01233 64 81 69; M: 07976 08 52 40; k.brewer@iga.org.uk,

    For more information about glaucoma, visit: www.glaucoma-association.com

    About the International Glaucoma Association:

    1. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit:

    www.glaucoma-association.com

    1. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England & Wales.
    2. As part of its support services, it operates the IGA Sightline (helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.

    4. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 78 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).

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  • 2016 IGA/RCN RESEARCH AWARD FOR DEBRA JONES OF HINCHINBROOKE HOSPITAL

    Debra Jones, a Glaucoma Specialist Nurse, together with Professor Rupert Bourne, at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, have won a £25,0000 research grant after applying for the 2016 IGA (International Glaucoma Association) and RCN Research Grant.  The award will fund their 12 month project entitled, Development of an evidence-based clinical tool that will predict ‘risk of non-adherence’ to topically applied glaucoma medication.

    The aim of Debra Jones’ and Professor Bourne’s research is to investigate factors that may affect patients adhering to their eye drop medications for glaucoma and to develop a simple evidence-based clinical tool that will predict ‘risk of non-adherence’ that may be of use in assessing patients in the clinical setting.  In the long term it should produce a better understanding of the relationship between patient factors such as ocular surface disease, patient knowledge and treatment non-adherence to help deliver more patient-centred care in the future.

    About the IGA and RCN Research Grant

    The IGA and RCN Research Grant facilitates research into supporting patients during their glaucoma care.  It is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today, but half are undiagnosed. The most common form of treatment of glaucoma is the administration of eye drops on a daily basis which reduce intra-ocular pressure, however, this only works if patients adhere to the treatment. The IGA encourages patient orientated research and research directly concerned with the improvement of the management of glaucoma.  The Grant is for individual nurses or departments, based in the UK or Eire and is awarded annually.

    Comments Russell Young, CEO of IGA: “We believe that the results of research such as this can make a real difference to people living with glaucoma. All too often the IGA receives calls from people who are having difficulty in taking their eye drops. The development of an evidence based clinical tool, will help to identify who is at risk, so that clinical support can be allocated and provided”.

    -ENDS-

    Notes for editors:

    *references available

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  • Eye health sector intervenes to stop patients losing sight

    Warnings that hospital initiated delays and cancelled follow up appointments are at crisis point, putting patients' sight at risk, have led to a new cross-sector initiative. It aims to release pressure off the hospital eye health services by treating more people in the community.

    To meet these challenges the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC), representing the major charity, clinical and provider organisations in the sector, has stepped in to launch a new Primary Eye Care Framework1 for eye health services. The Framework will help commissioners address capacity issues in their area by delivering more support in primary care settings, in line with the NHS Five year Forward View.

    The new Framework complements the Community Ophthalmology Framework2, published by the Clinical Council in 2015. It will empower commissioners and providers to release capacity within hospital through a multidisciplinary approach to treat the right patient in the most appropriate service.

    Launching the new framework David Parkins, Chair of the Clinical Council said: “Patients are now at risk of losing their sight because of delayed appointments and capacity pressures. Radical change is needed and we urge all Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Eye Health Networks to measure their existing services against these frameworks and use them to expand local capacity to meet need as part of their local Sustainability and Transformation Plans.”

    President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Professor Carrie MacEwen, supports the review of services to ease pressure on overstretched hospital eye health services. She said: “It is critical that the ophthalmic sector develops frameworks that support the growing demands made on the multi-disciplinary workforce. This team provides primary and secondary care for patients and we need to ensure that it is delivered through consistent and recognised training and education standards. We advocate the right eye care professional, at the right time and in the right setting.”

    Reference

    1, 2 http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/EyesAndTheNHS/devolved-nations/england/clinical-council-for-eye-health-commissioning/ccehc-framework.cfm

    Notes to editors

    1. Concerns raised by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and by MPs in Parliament, led to NHS England organising the country’s first ever high-level eye health summit for NHS commissioners this June.
    2. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2016/06/eye-health-summit-2/
    3. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-06-24/41184
    4. The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) coordinates leading organisations from across eye health services to offer united, evidence-based clinical advice and guidance to those commissioning and delivering eye health services in England on issues where national leadership is needed. Its member organisations are:

    VISION 2020 UK

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  • IGA and SeeAbility introduce new eye drops for glaucoma fact sheet

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA)  and the charity SeeAbility have introduced a new easy to read fact sheet. It shows how to put eye drops for glaucoma into the eye correctly. The fact sheet contains clear photographs and descriptions of how to use the eye drop bottles and how to place a drop in the eye. It also covers what devices are available to help, and where to go for further help and advice.

    Karen Brewer, Head of Communications at IGA, said: "We hope that the fact sheet will be useful for a wide range of audiences. This includes anyone who needs eye drops for glaucoma, or people who care or work with someone who needs assistance.

    "One of the most common reasons for people defaulting from glaucoma treatment, is due to difficulty in using their eye drops. As it is the eye drops which are helping to control the pressure in the eye, this can mean that damage from glaucoma will continue, which can cause further loss of sight. There are many different aids that are available. The IGA Sightline can help advise on the correct aid for each particular drop. You can just call 01233 64 81 70. You can also visit our website shop where all the aids are available to view and purchase.

    eye drops for glaucoma After using the eye drop, close your eye gently and press softly on the inside corner of your eye for 1 minute.

    SeeAbility registered charity

    SeeAbility is a specialist national registered charity enriching the lives of people who have sight loss and other disabilities, including learning and physical disabilities, mental health difficulties, acquired brain injury and life limiting conditions.

    You can download a copy of the SeeAbility and IGA glaucoma fact sheet.

     

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  • Family Focus for National Glaucoma Awareness Week 2016 as IGA Urges Regular Eye Checks for Families of Glaucoma Patients

    For this year’s National Glaucoma Awareness Week, 6-12 June, The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is focusing on the need for close relatives of a known glaucoma patient, to have regular eye checks to prevent possible sight loss. Parents, children, brothers or sisters are up to four times more likely to develop glaucoma, when compared to people without a family history of glaucoma*.

    IGA NGAW 2016 - Family Tree

    It is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today, but half are undiagnosed. It is the most common cause of preventable blindness, yet many people are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages. But, if left untreated glaucoma can lead to serious loss of vision, with up to 40 per cent of sight being permanently lost before the effects are noticed by the individual.  Once sight is lost it cannot be recovered.

    Regular eye checks

    Russell Young CEO of the IGA comments: “Our research has shown that one in three people (32 per cent)[i] diagnosed with glaucoma did not know glaucoma can be inherited. This is worrying given the increased risk that relatives have of developing the condition. When it comes to the general public, awareness of the inherited link is significantly lower, with only 49 per cent[ii] being aware of the link with family history.”

    Continues Russell, “We regularly hear from people who have irretrievably lost their sight to glaucoma, as they haven’t had regular eye health checks.  People are often angry and upset, to know that a quick and regular visit to their high street optometrist would have detected the condition. It is critical that family members have regular eye health checks throughout life, at least every two years, and more regularly if advised by a health professional. The earlier treatment starts the more likely that someone will retain useful sight for life.”

    The IGA believes that everyone should have regular eye health checks, at least every two years and works with optometrists, eye clinic staff, voluntary groups and people across the country to help prevent sight loss unnecessarily. For people with a family history of glaucoma, eye checks are free in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for those aged over 40, and free in Scotland regardless of age.

    Glaucoma Facts

    • Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.
    • Glaucoma is more common in people over the age of 40.
    • There are no early symptoms of glaucoma
    • Symptoms of advanced glaucoma include missing, patchy vision and even serious loss of vision
    • Regular eye health checks (every two years, or every 1-2 years for over 40s) will detect conditions such as glaucoma, which is important given there are no early symptoms
    • With regular treatment for glaucoma, vision and driving licences can be protected
    • Most people with glaucoma will be safe to drive for many years, but it important to alert the DVLA to the condition if advised by an ophthalmologist.

    -ENDS-

    Notes for editors:

    • *references available

    For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact: Karen Brewer, Head of Communications on 01233 64 81 69 or email marketing@iga.org.uk

    Please see attached a case study of Hayley Mason’s glaucoma experience.  Further case studies are available on request: Hayley Mason Case study

    About the International Glaucoma Association:

    1. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit glaucoma-association.com
    2. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland and also England & Wales.
    3. As part of its support services, it operates the IGA Sightline (helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.
    4. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 70 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).

    Close relatives in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can have a sight test and examination by an optometrist which is paid for by the NHS if they are aged over 40, and everyone is entitled to free testing over the age of 60. In Scotland, the NHS will pay for glaucoma examinations offered by optometrists, regardless of age.

    [i] IGA Members research (n=977), 2014

    [ii] IGA Research (Fly Research 2014)

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  • Mr William Blake FCIT FILT FIEM 2 September 1929 to 27 May 2016

    It is with great sadness that we announce that Mr William (Bill) Blake, former IGA Trustee passed away quietly on Friday 27th May, aged 86.

    Bill made an enormous contribution to the IGA in his many years as Honorary Treasurer, Chairman of the Chair Trust and later Vice Chair of the charity.

    The effects of his work have been important and far-reaching. He was tireless in his efforts to raise awareness of both the IGA and glaucoma. He combined his passion and commitment to the Lion’s Club, with his dedication to the IGA and ensured that glaucoma and our charity was firmly placed at the centre of the Lion’s Eye Health programme – a community based education programme promoting healthy vision and raising awareness of the causes of preventable vision loss.

    Bill’s working life was rich and varied. He was an experienced consultant and specialist in crisis management, having had more than 40 years involvement in the civil aviation and transport industry.

    As a senior operations manager of British Airways until 1983, he had special worldwide responsibilities for Contingency and Emergency Planning and co-coordination. He provided consultancy services in crisis management to major airlines as well as two overseas Governments.

    He jointly designed and later directed the Master degree course in Civil Emergency Management at the University of Hertfordshire. He was a director of Blake Emergency Services Ltd and Blake Information Centre and was Chairman of the Institute of Emergency Management.

    His wise counsel was invaluable to both trustees and staff. His calm and patient nature made him an asset to the team at the International Glaucoma Association, who have all been personally touched by his support and friendship.

    A fuller tribute to Bill will follow in the IGA News.

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  • IGA Professor of Glaucoma recognised as one of most influential people in ophthalmology today

    IGA professor recognised for his glaucoma researchIGA Professor of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma and Allied Studies is recognised for the second consecutive year as one of the most influential people in ophthalmology today. For the second year running, Professor David Garway-Health has been included on the Ophthalmologist Power List 2016.

    Comments Russell Young; "Professor Garway-Heath's achievements are considerable. We are fortunate that, as well as his work as the Vice President of the European Glaucoma Society, his work with the University of London, his Consultant position at Moorfields Eye Hospital, he is also able to act as a clinical advisor and spokesperson for the IGA".

    Research by David (Ted) Garway-Heath has provided many new tools that are in widespread use today. These include the Moorfields Motion Displacement Test; The Moorfields Regression Analysis, a software program for imaging performance in tomography; and the Garway-Heath Map, used in research to establish the correlation between visual field and optic nerve hypoplasia changes. In addition, his work on the UK Glaucoma Treatment Study showed that it was possible to reduce considerably the period needed to identify treatment effects, thus increasing the likelihood of bringing new drugs more quickly and more cost-effectively to patients.

    For the full PowerList click here

    Note to editors

     

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