News

  • 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

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    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.

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    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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  • Vision Express and IGA working together for World Glaucoma Week 2016

    The International Glaucoma Association is focusing on the need for regular eye health checks to detect glaucoma, during this year’s World Glaucoma Week 2016. With 64 million people with glaucoma globally, and an estimated rise to 76 million, it is vital that people recognise the importance of eye health.

    A visit to the optometrist will quickly detect whether there is a risk of glaucoma, and once diagnosed, glaucoma can be treated. Although any sight lost due to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with regular treatment, useful sight can be maintained for life. This is particularly true in the UK, where it is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma, but around 50 per cent of these people are undiagnosed.

    As a charity, the IGA is delighted that national optical retailer, Vision Express is working with IGA to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye health checks. IGA staff will be supporting the Vision Express state of the art mobile van which is touring the UK, offering free eye health checks during World Glaucoma Week. Staff from Vision Express and IGA will be available to offer information on how glaucoma is detected, who is at risk and the types of treatment available.

    Comments Russell Young, CEO at International Glaucoma Association: “We are delighted to be working with Vision Express on this awareness raising initiative. We know that people often don’t have an eye health check, until they realise something is wrong with their vision. Unfortunately with glaucoma, this can mean that 40 per cent of the vision is already lost and will never be recovered. This is tragic, given that a simple eye health check could have detected glaucoma and treatment could have commenced. So long as treatment is continued, most people in the UK will retain useful sight for life”.

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  • Specsavers and IGA raise awareness of glaucoma during World Glaucoma Week 2016

    The International Glaucoma Association is focusing on the need for regular eye health checks to detect glaucoma, during this year’s World Glaucoma Week 2016. With 64 million people with glaucoma globally and an estimated rise to 76 million, it is vital that people recognise the importance of eye health.

    A visit to the optometrist will quickly detect whether there is a risk of glaucoma, and once diagnosed, glaucoma can be treated. Although any sight lost due to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with regular treatment, useful sight can be maintained for life. This is particularly true in the UK, where it is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma, but around 50 per cent of these people are undiagnosed.

    As a charity the IGA relies on the generosity of its members to help fund vital services including our helpline and our free patient literature. We are therefore delighted that the national optometry chain, Specsavers has chosen to both raise awareness of glaucoma and to raise funds for IGA during World Glaucoma Week 2016.

    Specsavers will be donating £1.00 to the IGA for every tonometry test (puff test) which is performed in its stores during World Glaucoma Week.

    Comments Karen Brewer, Head of Communications at the IGA “We are delighted that Specsavers are raising awareness of glaucoma in the community. In the UK, it is the most common cause of preventable sight loss, yet many are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages and this is why regular sight tests are so important”.

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  • How visual conditions affect sight: Living with glaucoma

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) provided advice and comment on what London looks like through the eyes of someone living with glaucoma.

    Here is the full article where you can see how glaucoma affects sight.

    Regular eye health checks are vital to detect glaucoma which often has no symptoms in the early stages.

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  • Glaucoma and relatives, help to save sight

    “Family Foresight” Raising awareness of glaucoma amongst relatives and the need for regular health checks

    This year’s National Glaucoma Awareness campaign (6-12 June 2016) focuses on the need for regular eye health checks for parents, children, brothers and sisters, if glaucoma has been diagnosed in the family. Close relatives are four times more likely to develop the condition, when compared to someone without a family history. We believe that everyone should have regular eye health checks, at least every two years and will be working with optometrists, eye clinic staff, voluntary groups and people across the country to help prevent people losing sight unnecessarily.

    It is estimated that there are 600,000 people in the UK with glaucoma, but half have not been diagnosed. Globally, it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and the number of people with glaucoma is increasing [64 million people today, rising to 76 million by 2020].

    In the UK, glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness, yet many people are unaware that the condition 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. Once sight is lost it cannot be recovered.

    Eye health checks if you have relatives with glaucoma

     

    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 eye tests over the age of 60. In Scotland, the NHS will pay for examinations offered by optometrists, regardless of age.

    The IGA funds pioneering research into the detection, management and treatment of glaucoma, and provides free patient information, literature and advice.

    For more information about the week, or get receive a pack of information please contact: marketing@iga.org.uk; or call: 01233 64 81 64.

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  • Response from the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) about Faulty visual field machine used for DVLA fitness to drive tests.

    Comments Russell Young, CEO, International Glaucoma Association (IGA):

    “The IGA is extremely concerned that a fault with one of the machines used to assess a person’s fitness to drive will have led to some people with glaucoma having their driving licence wrongly revoked. The DVLA requires a visual field test to assess whether a driver with glaucoma is safe to drive.

    “Relinquishing a driving licence is an emotional issue that can have a major impact on the driver's quality of life. For some it can mean loss of employment and for many it means the loss of independence.

    “We know people with glaucoma find the DVLA visual field test difficult and stressful. The equipment varies across testing optometrists and is different to the usual visual field test patients experience in hospitals. It is vital people have absolute confidence in this test. It has to be carried out on equipment that has been scrupulously tested, be supervised by qualified people and carried out in a quiet location, without interruptions, to provide the applicant with the best chance of taking and passing the test.

    “The DVLA has advised the IGA that all those affected have been contacted and offered a re-test on a different machine. We urge anyone that has been notified to take up this offer to see if their licence can be reinstated.

    “We will continue to work with the DVLA to follow up on this issue, and to see what more can be done to improve the experience of people with glaucoma when re-applying for their licence.”

    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

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    For further information about the test equipment and the action that DVLA is taking please contact the DVLA press office on 01792 78 20 77.

    For further information about glaucoma and its impact on driving, contact IGA helpline on 01233 64 81 70 or email: info@iga.org.uk, or search the IGA website: www.glaucoma-assocation.com.

    For press enquiries please contact: Karen Brewer, 01233 64 81 69 or mobile: 07976 08 52 40

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  • National Eye Health Week: International Glaucoma Association Calls on Drivers Over 45 to Get Their Eyes Tested

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is calling on all drivers over 45 to get their eye sight tested, by asking them to consider their safety and that of their passengers and other road users. As part of the IGA’s ‘Are You Safe to Drive’ campaign, the focus for this year’s National Eye Health Week* (21-27 September) is the millions of drivers over the age of 45 that could be risking losing their driving licence and who could be a danger on the roads by not taking an eye test every 1-2 years as recommended. A recent survey by the IGA** showed that 18% of the 1,000 over 45s surveyed said they had either not had an eye test in the last five years, or had never had one at all, with marked difference between men and women (21 per cent versus 16 per cent).
    With the autumn equinox on 23rd September heralding the darkening winter nights and the clocks due to go back on 25th October, the IGA points out that driving at night is when many people find that their eye sight is not as good as it should be. A recent survey by the Eyecare Trust and Westfield health insurers found that more than half of Britain’s 34 million motorists struggle to see when driving after dark, whilst many more avoid driving at night altogether. A separate three-year study conducted by Zurich found that accidents increased by 11 per cent in the fortnight directly after the clocks go back, compared to the preceding two weeks.
    The recent IGA survey showed that financial considerations can prevent many people from having an eye test, as 36% of those surveyed said the reason they don’t take an eye test is that they worry about the cost. Patients living in the most deprived areas of the UK are predicted to be diagnosed with twice as much vision loss compared to those from the least deprived regions. The IGA together with the College of Optometrists is therefore announcing an 18 month research project in association with Deanna Taylor and Professor David Crabb of City University London, to hold pop up glaucoma testing clinics to see if public engagement or detection rate of suspect glaucoma is greater in ‘deprived’ areas, compared to more ‘prosperous’ areas.
    Russell Young, CEO of the IGA comments, ‘For this year’s National Eye Health Week we are asking all drivers, especially those over the age of 45, to have regular eye health checks through a local optometrist (optician) to ensure they are safe to drive. We are delighted that Vision Express is offering free eye tests to anyone visiting its stores during the week.’
    Continues Young: ‘We know that cost of eye tests can put people off having an eye test, so this National Eye Health Week we are pleased to announce our pop up eye clinic research study.

    Results from this work will be used to show that glaucoma detection is a public health challenge, while the pop up clinic itself will be an opportunity for us to educate the public about glaucoma and the importance of regular eye tests and to provide information about local optometrists.’
    Professor David Crabb of City University London comments ‘Retail pop up booths in high streets and in shopping centres are common – we propose one for glaucoma! The idea is to move glaucoma detection to communities that we think are hard to reach. The IGA funding is absolutely brilliant because it allows us to pilot the feasibility of glaucoma testing on the high street – literally!’
    Glaucoma and Driving
    With a sight loss condition such as glaucoma, drivers won’t know that they are putting their passengers at risk unless they have regular eye health checks. There are no early symptoms of glaucoma and the condition is more common in people over the age of 40. There is at least a four times increased risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative with the condition (father, mother, brother, sister, or child). People with glaucoma that has caused damage to vision in both eyes are required by law to report their condition to the DVLA. If they fail to do so they can face a criminal conviction, a fine up to £1000 and may be uninsured to drive. The IGA survey showed 5% of those surveyed wouldn’t report glaucoma to the DVLA if advised by a health professional, either because they think it would stop them from driving, or because they don’t think they need to.
    Around 10 per cent of the calls to the IGA helpline (01233 648 178) are from people worried about whether their glaucoma is going to affect their ability to drive. Fortunately the majority of those that report to the DVLA will not need further tests, and of those that do, the majority will be found safe to drive
    The IGA has a leaflet on glaucoma and driving, which is approved by the DVLA, which can be accessed by visiting www.glaucoma-association.com or via Sightline by calling 01233 64 81 78
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    Note to editors:

    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 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.
    **The survey was commissioned by the IGA through Red Dot Research on 14-19 May 2015 among more than 1,000 people over the age of 45 nationwide.
    * Available on request.
    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
    2. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland, 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 78 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).

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