News

  • European Glaucoma Society

    Guess who’s going to be the next President?

     

    Our very own Professor for glaucoma, David (Ted) Garway-Heath will be taking the reins as the next President of the EGS from January 2018.

    Currently as Vice President, Ted’s work is focused on establishing outcomes to evaluate care quality across Europe, harmonizing ophthalmology training, and mentoring the younger generation of glaucoma specialists who will be taking the society forward.

    In addition to his clinical work, Ted leads research in visual assessment and imaging at the Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). He is also an NHIR Senior Investigator, a position awarded in recognition of his contribution to patient and people-based research.

    On his latest achievement, our professor said: "I will build on the current strong and innovative leadership in pursuit of the patient-focused EGS vision to promote the best possible well-being and minimal glaucoma-induced visual disability in individuals with glaucoma."

    Everyone here at the IGA wishes Ted all the best in his new role next year, and we’re sure he’ll be a great success!

    Read more

  • National Eye Health Week Event 22nd September 2017

    Nutrition and Sight Loss

    United Reform Church

    30 Fisherton Street

    Salisbury SP2 7RG

    Friday 22nd September 2017

    10.00am to 1.00pm

     

    Promoting the importance of nutrition, lifestyle and well being on eye health.

    Programme includes exhibitions and interactive displays, presentations and cooking demonstrations.

    Supported by Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, International Glaucoma Association, RNIB, Macular Society, WSUN and many more.

    For further details please contact Debbie Furnell at Social Barriers Solutions by email on socialbarrierssolutions@gmail.com or by calling on 07719 37 57 76

    Read more

  • The IGA is looking for a new Treasurer to join the Board of Trustees

    The IGA is looking for a new Hon. Treasurer to replace Alan Vaughan, who retires from the role in March 2018.

    We are seeking someone who shares our commitment to improving the lives and wellbeing of people living with glaucoma, who is a good communicator and can bring strong finance skills and strategic awareness to the Board.

    The role is not paid, but all reasonable expenses will be met, and support and training is available. You can download full details and an application form here

    At this stage there is no formal closing date, but we hope to have a reasonable handover period so would welcome early applications.

    If you would like an informal discussion about the role please contact our CEO Karen Osborn on 01233 64 81 72 or email k.osborn@iga.org.uk, or Alan Vaughan at alanvaughan623@gmail.com

    Read more

  • Glaucoma patients representative needed to help shape NHS research

    A patient or member of the public from Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes) or Berkshire is being sought to help shape NHS research in the Thames Valley through the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, which is part of the NHS.

    A brief article about the role is below and full details are available at this link:

    https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/patient-and-public-representative-needed-to-help-shape-nhs-research/6460

    Read more

  • National Glaucoma Awareness Week 2017 New Research Shows Lack of Awareness of the Need for Regular Eye Pressure Checks

    9 June 2017

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) reveals new research showing lack of awareness of the need to have regular eye pressure checks, as it launches its ‘Pressure checked? #GetEyeWise’ campaign for National Glaucoma Awareness Week, from 12-18 June.

    In August 2016 a research team from City, University of London, led by Professor David Crabb, took a purpose-built healthcare Pop-Up into shopping centres across England. On some days the “Feeling The Pressure” Pop-Up offered free blood pressure and eye pressure checks to shoppers and on other days it just offered free eye pressure checks alone.

    Some initial results from the research were recently presented at the European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO) meeting in Barcelona (May 2017).

    The researchers found people had far greater awareness of the need to have their blood pressure tested compared to having their eye pressure checked.  Significantly more people engaged with the Pop-Up on days when both blood and eye pressure checks were offered (60 per cent of all those tested) compared to the days when just eye pressure checks alone were offered (40 per cent of the total tested).

    Researchers also asked shoppers what they knew about blood pressure and eye pressure before being tested. In total 71 per cent of shoppers had a good understanding of blood pressure but only 19 per cent knew anything at all about eye pressure.

    “These results show a staggering lack of understanding and awareness about eye pressure in the general public”, said Laura Edwards, the research optometrist who tested more than 700 people during a marathon 16 days of testing.

    Professor Crabb added, “As we know, eye pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma. People generally get the idea that high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and it’s a good thing to check it now and then. This is unsurprising because it has been a much repeated public health message over the years. Similarly we need to educate the public that there are parallels with eye pressure being a risk factor for potentially losing your sight. We also need to make sure people understand it is something that can be easily checked and something they ought to ask for when they next visit their optometrist or eye care professional”

    Pressure checked? #GetEyeWise’

    There are an estimated 64 million people with glaucoma worldwide and an estimated 600,000 people living with the condition in the UK today, half of whom are as yet undiagnosed.   Raised eye pressure can sometimes indicate glaucoma and in fact is the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma, so this year’s campaign is to educate people about the importance of eye pressure as part of a regular eye health check. If detected early, glaucoma can be managed and useful sight can usually be maintained throughout life.

    Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of the IGA, comments: “The research clearly showed that people are quite familiar with getting a blood pressure check, but are far less aware of the need for regular eye pressure checks. It is shocking that only one in five people in all of the locations visited knew about eye pressure.  If pressure is too high it can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of vision. Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight for a good reason, as the brain fills in the missing parts of vision and it isn’t until there is significant sight loss that a person thinks to visit an optometrist who can help to detect what is happening.  A significant amount of vision can be lost, and once lost it cannot be recovered.  We hope this year’s campaign will encourage eye pressure checks at least every two years and for over 40s every 1-2 years.”

    Karen Osborn podcast highlighting the research findings.

    What is Glaucoma?
    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 often no early symptoms of glaucoma
    • Symptoms of advanced glaucoma include missing, patchy vision and even serious loss of vision
    • If left untreated glaucoma can lead to serious loss of vision, with up to 40% of sight being permanently lost before the effects are noticed
    • 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.

    Glaucoma eye tests
    The IGA believes that everyone should have regular eye health checks, at least every two years (or every 1-2 years for over 40s). Glaucoma tests are quick, simple and convenient.  A visit to your local high-street optician is all that is needed to see if you are at risk of glaucoma. There are three simple tests which include:

    1. Looking at the appearance of the main nerve in the eye, called the optic nerve
    2. Measuring the pressure in the eye, often referred to as the air puff test
    3. Checking the field of vision.  In Scotland there is a fourth test which measures the corneal thickness

    -ENDS-

    Notes for editors:

    The results of this research were first presented at: European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO) Meeting in Barcelona 14 May 2017.

    SCREENING FOR ELEVATED INTRAOCULAR PRESSURE (IOP) IN A SHOPPING CENTRE POP-UP USING ICARE TONOMETRY.

    Edwards et al

    This project is supported by an IGA/College of Optometrists Award (which is funded by the IGA and administered by the IGA in conjunction with the College of Optometrists) and by an EAME regional funding grant from Allergan.

    Case Studies Available for Interview:

    Georgie Morrell is a 30 year old comedian who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at three years old, which led to uveitis (inflammation of the eye) and glaucoma.  She has had various treatments and surgeries over the last 27 years.  She lost the sight in her left eye and was blind in her right eye for a year when she was 21, although she has since regained some sight in that eye.  Georgie’s sight problems have informed her career as a writer and comedian, so much so that she wrote a stand up routine called ‘A Poke in the Eye’ about her experience.

    Hayley Burke is a 44 year old Family Support Practitioner at Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice in South Wales.  Hayley’s job involves driving round south west and mid-Wales to visit the families of children with terminal illness, so when Hayley was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 39, she was worried about whether she would be able to continue driving for her job.

    Marilyn Jackson is a 63 year old humanist celebrant, based in Edinburgh.  She conducts non-religious weddings, baby naming ceremonies and funerals all across the east of Scotland, so when she discovered she had glaucoma she was worried how this would impact on her job.

    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.

    For further information or, please contact: Annabel Hillary, 07884 430862, annabel@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk

    or Mary-Jane Greenhalgh, 07866 722051, maryjane@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk

    Karen Brewer, Head of Communications on 01233 64 81 69 or email marketing@iga.org.uk

    Read more

  • Pressure checked? MOT your eyes today and save sight loss from glaucoma #GetEyeWise

    The International Glaucoma Association is focusing on the importance of eye pressure in detecting glaucoma as part of National Glaucoma Awareness Week (12 – 18 June 2017).

    People regularly check the pressure in car tyres, the boiler and even check their blood pressure regularly but who thinks about eye pressure?

    It is the pressure in the eye which keeps it inflated. If it is too high it can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of vision. It is estimated that there are 64 million people with glaucoma worldwide and 600,000 in the UK, with half undetected.

    “People have such a limited knowledge about the health of their eyes. All too often we hear that people do not have an eye health check until they realise that something is wrong with their vision. This is too late for glaucoma as a significant amount of vision will be lost and it can never be recovered,” comments Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of the International Glaucoma Association.

    This year’s campaign is to educate people about the importance of eye pressure as part of a regular eye health check. If detected early, glaucoma can be managed and useful sight can usually be maintained throughout life.

    The tests are quick, simple and convenient. A visit to the local high-street optician is all that is needed to see if you are at risk of glaucoma. There are three simple tests which include:

    1. Looking at the appearance of the main nerve in the eye, called the optic nerve (ophthalmoscopy)
    2. Measuring the pressure in the eye, often referred to as the air puff test, (tonometry)
    3. Checking the field of vision (perimetry). In Scotland there is a fourth test called pachymetry which measures the corneal thickness.

    “Our helpline takes calls from people who are shocked to realise that had they had an eye health check earlier, then they may not have lost a significant portion of their sight. Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight for a good reason, as the brain fills in the missing parts of vision and it isn’t until there is significant sight loss that a person thinks to visit an optometrist who can help to detect what is happening”.

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

    -ends-

    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

    1. 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
    2. As part of its support services, the IGA operates the Sightline (telephone helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.
    3. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 70 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).
    4. 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.

    Read more

  • 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

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