News

  • IGA trustee Professor Anthony King comments on new test to detect glaucoma

    "This is a potentially significant new test. It is novel in its application. There is no real comparable test available that looks at the eye in such a detailed way and it would certainly add to our current ability to evaluate patients with glaucoma. The researchers have shown that it appears to be safe and it can identify patients who have glaucoma and it is possibly predictive of patients who will have glaucoma progression so all of that is very positive for the future.

    "It is a very experimental paper and the way that the test is administered wouldn't be at all practical in the NHS. It's time consuming and involves an intravenous injection. Patients need to have pupils dilated and then there is a need to have scans so they would have to remain in the department for several hours, so it would be both time consuming for the patient and time consuming for the ophthalmology service. However it's likely that with future research these things could be refined significantly to hone it down to a more efficient delivery.

    There is no cure, but we can manage glaucoma to stop it progressing so this is a test that allows us to diagnose glaucoma at an earlier stage and also identify patients more likely to progress more quickly to implement treatments to stop it from progressing. Often one of the difficulties with glaucoma is that there are no early signs and people can have significant visual field loss before they are detected. As with most conditions the later that a condition is identified, the more difficult it becomes to treat it effectively. So many people will have glaucoma without being aware of it and they only become aware of it when they go to their optician for a routine evaluation and it is picked up then."

    The IGA believes that everyone should have an eye health check every two years and more regularly if recommended by a health professional.

    -ends-

    New eye test detects earliest signs of glaucoma

    A SIMPLE eye test could help solve the biggest global cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma.

    In clinical trials, the pioneering diagnostic - developed by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the Western Eye Hospital - allowed doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye.

    Glaucoma affects 60 million people in the world, with 1 in 10 suffering total sight loss in both eyes.

    Early detection means doctors can start treatments before sight loss begins. The test also has potential for early diagnosis of other degenerative neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

    Results of first clinical trials with glaucoma patients are published today (28/04/17) in the journal BRAIN.

    Professor Francesca Cordeiro at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, who led the research, said: “Detecting glaucoma early is vital as symptoms are not always obvious. Although detection has been improving, most patients have lost a third of vision by the time they are diagnosed. Now, for the first time, we have been able to show individual cell death and detect the earliest signs of glaucoma. While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin. In the future, the test could also be used to diagnose other neurodegenerative diseases.”

    Loss of sight in patients with glaucoma is caused by the death of cells in the retina at the back of the eye. This cell death is called apoptosis.

    As with other neurodegenerative conditions, more and more nerve cells are lost as the disease progresses.

    Professor Philip Bloom, Chief Investigator at Western Eye Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added: “Treatment is much more successful when it is begun in early stages of the disease, when sight loss is minimal. Our developments mean we could diagnose patients 10 years earlier than was previously possible.”

    The technique developed is called DARC, which stands for detection of apoptosing retinal cells. It uses a specially developed fluorescent marker which attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients. Sick cells appear as white fluorescent spots during eye examination. UCL Business, the commercialisation company of UCL, holds the patents for the technology.

    The examination uses equipment used during routine hospital eye examinations. Researchers hope that eventually it may be possible for opticians to do the tests, enabling even earlier detection of the disease.

    The research is funded by Wellcome Trust.

    Bethan Hughes, from Wellcome’s Innovation team said: “This innovation has the potential to transform lives for those who suffer loss of sight through glaucoma, and offers hope of a breakthrough in early diagnosis of other neurodegenerative diseases. Loss of sight as you age is an incredibly difficult disability, impacting quality of life and independence.”

    Initial clinical trials were carried out on a small number of glaucoma patients and compared with tests on healthy people. The initial clinical trials established the safety of the test for patients.

    Further studies will now be carried out to into DARC and how it can be used not only to diagnose and treat glaucoma patients but also for other neurodegenerative conditions.

    ENDS

    Link to paper: The following link will go live at the time the embargo lifts: https://academic.oup.com/brain/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/brain/awx088
    For embargoed copies of the BRAIN paper and for media enquiries please contact Maggie Stratton: m.stratton@wellcome.ac.uk +44 (0)20 7611 8609/ +44 (0)787 211 2656
    For further information about DARC technology please contact Emma Alam: e.alam@uclb.com +44 (0)207 679 9000/ +44 (0)7896 058667
    About UCL Business

    UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market. For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com Twitter: @UCL_Business

    About UCL (University College London)

    UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 38,000 students from 150 countries and over 12,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion. www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews | Watch our YouTube channel YouTube.com/UCLTV

    About Imperial Hospitals NHS Trust/Western Eye Hospital

    Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest hospital Trust’s in England, providing acute and specialist healthcare for a population of nearly two million people. The Trust has five hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and The Western Eye – as well as community services.

    The Western Eye Hospital is a specialist eye hospital in West London with a 24/7 accident and emergency department. The hospital’s facilities also include outpatients, inpatients, day case and inpatient surgery.

    About Wellcome

    Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

    Read more

  • The IGA welcomes new eye test which can detect earliest signs of glaucoma

    Chief executive, Karen Osborn comments on the new test developed by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the Western Eye Hospital:

    "This is an exciting trial for people with glaucoma, as early diagnosis is critical to help prevent avoidable sight loss. This latest test could help clinicians to diagnose and treat glaucoma when the loss of sight from glaucoma is at its earliest stage".

    Press release

    EMBARGO: 00.01 BST Thursday, 27th April 2017

    New eye test detects earliest signs of glaucoma

    A SIMPLE eye test could help solve the biggest global cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma.

    In clinical trials, the pioneering diagnostic - developed by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the Western Eye Hospital - allowed doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye.

    Glaucoma affects 60 million people in the world, with 1 in 10 suffering total sight loss in both eyes.

    Early detection means doctors can start treatments before sight loss begins. The test also has potential for early diagnosis of other degenerative neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

    Results of first clinical trials with glaucoma patients are published today (28/04/17) in the journal BRAIN.

    Professor Francesca Cordeiro at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, who led the research, said: “Detecting glaucoma early is vital as symptoms are not always obvious. Although detection has been improving, most patients have lost a third of vision by the time they are diagnosed. Now, for the first time, we have been able to show individual cell death and detect the earliest signs of glaucoma. While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin. In the future, the test could also be used to diagnose other neurodegenerative diseases.”

    Loss of sight in patients with glaucoma is caused by the death of cells in the retina at the back of the eye. This cell death is called apoptosis.

    As with other neurodegenerative conditions, more and more nerve cells are lost as the disease progresses.

    Professor Philip Bloom, Chief Investigator at Western Eye Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added: “Treatment is much more successful when it is begun in early stages of the disease, when sight loss is minimal. Our developments mean we could diagnose patients 10 years earlier than was previously possible.”

    The technique developed is called DARC, which stands for detection of apoptosing retinal cells. It uses a specially developed fluorescent marker which attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients. Sick cells appear as white fluorescent spots during eye examination. UCL Business, the commercialisation company of UCL, holds the patents for the technology.

    The examination uses equipment used during routine hospital eye examinations. Researchers hope that eventually it may be possible for opticians to do the tests, enabling even earlier detection of the disease.

    The research is funded by Wellcome Trust.

    Bethan Hughes, from Wellcome’s Innovation team said: “This innovation has the potential to transform lives for those who suffer loss of sight through glaucoma, and offers hope of a breakthrough in early diagnosis of other neurodegenerative diseases. Loss of sight as you age is an incredibly difficult disability, impacting quality of life and independence.”

    Initial clinical trials were carried out on a small number of glaucoma patients and compared with tests on healthy people. The initial clinical trials established the safety of the test for patients.

    Further studies will now be carried out to into DARC and how it can be used not only to diagnose and treat glaucoma patients but also for other neurodegenerative conditions.

    ENDS

    Link to paper: The following link will go live at the time the embargo lifts: https://academic.oup.com/brain/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/brain/awx088
    For embargoed copies of the BRAIN paper and for media enquiries please contact Maggie Stratton: m.stratton@wellcome.ac.uk +44 (0)20 7611 8609/ +44 (0)787 211 2656
    For further information about DARC technology please contact Emma Alam: e.alam@uclb.com +44 (0)207 679 9000/ +44 (0)7896 058667
    About UCL Business

    UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market. For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com Twitter: @UCL_Business

    About UCL (University College London)

    UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 38,000 students from 150 countries and over 12,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion. www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews | Watch our YouTube channel YouTube.com/UCLTV

    About Imperial Hospitals NHS Trust/Western Eye Hospital

    Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest hospital Trust’s in England, providing acute and specialist healthcare for a population of nearly two million people. The Trust has five hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and The Western Eye – as well as community services.

    The Western Eye Hospital is a specialist eye hospital in West London with a 24/7 accident and emergency department. The hospital’s facilities also include outpatients, inpatients, day case and inpatient surgery.

    About Wellcome

    Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

    Read more

  • Glaucoma support meeting in Buxton for patients and carers on 31 March

    A free information and support event for people affected by eye disease glaucoma, is being held in Buxton on Friday 31 March – all welcome.

    The International Glaucoma Association will be joining forces with glaucoma experts from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust for the support meeting in Buxton Methodist Church Hall, Chapel Street, SK17 6HX from 1.30pm until 3-30pm.

    Buxton-based glaucoma nurse Norma Ayres said: “Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness and we are keen to raise further awareness to help people most at risk and to offer support to those affected.”

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is a charity which funds research to help understand this complex condition where the optic nerve in the eye is damaged.

    Glaucoma affects 1-2% of people in their 40s, and for people over 80 this may be as high as 15%. People are not usually aware they have this condition in the early stages. It is recommended that people over 40 have eye tests with an optician every two years. These are free if a family member has glaucoma.

    One of the current research projects supported by the IGA is to compare mitochondrial DNA damage in cells from samples of blood and eye tissue of people with glaucoma to assess if the eye tissue is more vulnerable to damage. This may lead to identifying patients whose optic nerve is more susceptible to disease and treating them earlier and more appropriately.

    More…/

    The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests that immediate family members of people with the most common type of glaucoma, Primary Open Angle Glaucoma, are four to nine times at higher risk of developing glaucoma than the rest of the population.

    Glaucoma is mainly painless, and sight loss is gradual, usually affecting peripheral vision first, which means it often goes unnoticed. Opticians can detect signs of glaucoma during sight tests and eye examinations.

    At the glaucoma support meeting Conrad Yuen, a consultant ophthalmologist from Stepping Hill Hospital, will explain different aspects of glaucoma and how it is treated. He will also answer questions.

    David Harris from the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) will talk about the work of the IGA and its research programmes.

    For more information contact Norma Ayres, specialist glaucoma nurse at Cavendish Hospital, Buxton, on 01298 212850.

    ENDS

    NOTES TO EDITORS:

    • Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust cares for patients across a wide range of services, delivered from 133 sites including 11 community hospitals and 30 health centres across Derbyshire, with nearly 1.5 million patient contacts each year.
    • The Trust employs approximately 4,500 staff, making it one of the largest providers of specialist community health services in the country, serving a patient population of 1.1 million.
    • Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust’s

    Vision:  To be the best provider of local healthcare and to be a great place to work. Values: To get the basics right, to act with compassion and respect, to make a difference, to value and develop teamwork, to value everyone's contribution to our service delivery and development.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Beedie, tel 07717 714239 or email: r.beedie@nhs.net or Rob Steel, tel 07527 420221 or email: robertsteel1@nhs.net

    Ref No: DCHS/RB/539

    Read more

  • New self-advocacy pilot launches to help prevent sight loss for eye patients

    14 March 2017

    Patients are being helped to take care of their sight under a new pilot scheme to end cancelled, delayed or missed eye clinic appointments.

    RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) is trialling a patient self-advocacy project in partnership with the Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

    Ask & Tell empowers patients to ask their eye doctor when their next appointment should be, and to tell reception staff so it is kept. It creates awareness with reception and administration staff in eye clinics about the importance of follow up appointments to avoid preventable sight loss. Ask & Tell also aims to encourage patients to not miss their appointments.

    During the six month pilot, patients can access a range of Ask & Tell resources and information online and in the eye clinic to support them to look after their sight.

    Around 20 patients a month in England experience sight loss as a result of hospital-initiated appointment delays, according to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ research ‘Surveillance of sight loss due to delay in ophthalmic treatment or review: frequency, cause and outcome’1.

    Fazilet Hadi, Director of Engagement at RNIB, said:
    “We’re delighted to be running the Ask & Tell pilot in partnership with the Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

    “We know it’s vital for patients to attend their eye clinic appointments and to have timely access to effective diagnosis and treatments. Delaying, cancelling or missing an appointment can lead to loss of sight, which could have been prevented.”

    Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society, said:
    “Understandably, patients get very frightened when their appointments are delayed or cancelled because they know the consequences. We look forward to piloting Ask & Tell and hope it will mean more patients get access to the timely treatment they need.”

    Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of International Glaucoma Association, said:
    “We know from our helpline and from our own research that delays to hospital appointments are increasing. Callers are anxious and stressed about the impact this will have on their condition. We are delighted to be working with RNIB, the Macular Society, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists to highlight this issue and believe this campaign will have a positive impact on patients".

    Professor Carrie MacEwen, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said:
    “The Ask & Tell initiative is a great example of providing patients with tools that encourage them to manage and understand the importance of keeping their scheduled eye appointments as advised by consultants.”

    RNIB will use feedback from the pilots to inform a roll out of Ask & Tell across England later this year.

    For more information about Ask & Tell, please visit: www.rnib.org.uk/askandtell

    Notes to editors
    The hospitals taking part in the Ask & Tell pilot are:
    • Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
    • Royal Blackburn Hospital
    • Salisbury District Hospital
    • West of England Eye Unit at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
    • Great Western Hospital, Swindon
    • Moorfields Eye Hospital, Old Street site, London
    • Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham

    1. BOSU Study: Authors B Foot and C MacEwen ‘Surveillance of sight loss due to delay in ophthalmic treatment or review: frequency, cause and outcome’ http://www.nature.com/eye/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/eye20171a.html

    All media enquiries to Anabel Unity Sale on 020 7874 1360 or anabelunity.sale@rnib.org.uk. Or, for urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482 812.

    About RNIB
    Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and we're here for everyone affected by sight loss – that's over 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk

    About the Macular Society
    The Macular Society is a leading UK charity that aims to reduce the fear and loneliness of sight loss and funds medical research to find a cure for macular diseases. We have around 340 Macular Society support groups, and a range of other services, including patient advocacy, so no one has to face macular disease alone. Our helpline is 0300 3030 111.

    About the International Glaucoma Association
    1. 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
    2. 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.
    3. As part of its support services, the IGA operates the Sightline (telephone 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).
    5. 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.

    About The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
    The Royal of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) is the professional membership organisation for eye doctors. We champion research, the science and practice of ophthalmology through training, assessment and continuing professional development. We advocate the timely diagnosis and treatment of patients to preserve sight and prevent avoidable blindness.
    www.rcophth.ac.uk

    Anabel Unity Sale
    Senior PR Officer

    RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)
    105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE

    t: 020 7874 1360 Out of hours press line: 07968 482 812
    e: anabelunity.sale@rnib.org.uk

    w: www.rnib.org.uk

    Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rnibuk
    Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/rnib

    --

    Help us to ensure that blind and partially sighted people can access vital vision rehabilitation services. For more information, go to www.rnib.org.uk/seeandplan
    --

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    We therefore recommend you scan all attachments.

    Please note that the statements and views expressed in this email and any attachments are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RNIB.

    RNIB Registered Charity Number: 226227

    Website: https://www.rnib.org.uk

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  • 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

    Read more

  • 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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