News

  • 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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  • New CEO for International Glaucoma Association

    Karen Osborn will join the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) as CEO at the end of July 2016. Karen has a strong background in developing both strategy and services for people with visual impairments, having spent the past nine years as CEO for Kent Association for the Blind.

    improving glaucoma treatment, Karen OsbornCommenting on the appointment, Chair of the IGA, Keith Barton says, “Karen stood out in a competitive field as our unanimous choice to lead the IGA.  She has an exceptional record of working with other charities, and we were impressed by her enthusiasm and ideas for the IGA. She has the experience, charisma and strategic outlook to take service provision forward and to enhance our role as a research funder”.

    Karen’s career is firmly rooted in supporting people with complex physical and mental health needs. Having started as a residential worker with MIND, she has since managed rehabilitation and therapeutic services for people with a range of physical, sensory, learning disability and mental health needs at Thrive, and directed volunteer and housing support for a disability charity in London.

    Karen said of her appointment, “I’m delighted to be joining the IGA and I’m looking forward to the challenge of implementing the new strategy and taking glaucoma services and research to the next level”.

    Current CEO Russell Young retires in July having led the organisation for the last three years. Formerly from the pharmaceutical industry, Russell has spent much of his career working with health care professionals and patients focussed on improving glaucoma treatment and care. In his words, “I was fortunate to have been introduced to glaucoma by Mr Pitts Crick, an inspirational teacher and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Kings College Hospital, London, who also founded the International Glaucoma Association”.

    The International Glaucoma Association is the charity for people with glaucoma. Established over 40 years ago, it raises awareness, promotes research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and provides support to patients and all those who care for them. In addition it also part funds the IGA Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies, Professor David Garway-Heath, at UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. Other services include: a helpline, patient information, patient support groups, events for professionals and patients, as well as providing grants for research funding. It is run by a board of trustees which represents ophthalmologists, optometrists, ophthalmic nurses and people with glaucoma

    -ends-

    For further information please contact Karen Brewer/Richenda Kew on: 01233 64 81 64 or email: K.Brewer@iga.org.uk or R.Kew@iga.org.uk.

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  • IGA response to Royal College of Ophthalmologists increasing demand on hospital eye services

    People with glaucoma are increasingly being let down by eye clinic departments with cancelled appointments as they are being overwhelmed by an increase in the number of patients being diagnosed and living with glaucoma. The impact this can have on a person with glaucoma is significant. Glaucoma often occurs because of raised pressure in the eye, which leads to damage to the optic nerve, causing sight loss. Once sight is lost from glaucoma, it cannot be recovered. Life-long treatment, often in the form of eye drops, is needed in order to control eye pressure.

    Increasingdemand

     

    Patients will be under the care of an Ophthalmologist (Eye care Consultant) at the hospital to monitor and treat their condition. This often involves changes to eye drop medication, and can lead to laser or surgical treatment. Without appropriate and timely care, a glaucoma patient can irretrievably lose sight having a significant negative impact on their quality of life.
    Comments Russell Young, CEO IGA: “We know from our helpline, and from our own visits to hospital departments, a significant number of patients suffer from delayed or postponed appointments on a regular basis. This is unacceptable. People with glaucoma are often elderly, and feel uncomfortable about challenging the health system. We urge them to act, and to either contact the eye health department themselves or request a friend or relative to do so on their behalf. It is vital that appointments are made and kept”.
    The IGA is a member of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning Group which provides recommendations to the NHS about how services can be re-organised to ensure patients are cared for correctly and appropriately. The IGA supports the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in the need for better data collection, better monitoring of eye health services and better use of qualified staff. This includes optometrists, ophthalmic nurses, ECLO’s, orthoptists and pharmacists who can all play a vital role in supporting people who have been diagnosed and living with glaucoma.

    -ends-
    For further information about IGA and glaucoma, contact: Karen Brewer, 01233 64 81 69 or email: k.brewer@iga.org.uk

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  • Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies takes up position as European Glaucoma Society Vice President

    Professor David (Ted) Garway-Heath, the IGA Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies, has been appointed Vice President of the European Glaucoma Society (EGS) and takes up his full position in 2016. His first meeting as Vice President of the EGS takes place at the annual meeting in June 2016.

    Glaucoma research professor

    Professor Garway Health is based at University College London (UCL) and is Theme Leader for Vision Assessment and Imaging at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University City London Institute of Ophthalmology.

    In addition to his clinical work, Professor Garway-Heath's research focuses on the development and evaluation of techniques for effective diagnosis, monitoring and management of glaucoma, the identification of risk factors for glaucoma progression and decision-support systems for healthcare delivery services.

    He is the author of over 180 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Garway-Heath was bestowed the prestigious Alcon Research Institute Award for "outstanding contributors to ophthalmic research" as well as the World Glaucoma Association Research Recognition Award. He was also cited as one of the 100 most influential people in ophthalmology worldwide in 2014 in The Ophthalmologist magazine power list.

    For more information on Professor Garway-Heath's achievements.

    For more information on registration to the European Glaucoma Society 2016 annual meeting.

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