Glaucoma education

  • UK and Éire Glaucoma Society

    We are delighted to announce that abstract submission and registration for the 2019 conference are now open. The UKÉGS is due to be held on 21st and 22nd November 2019 at Glasgow Science Centre. For further information, or to register your attendance, please click here.

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  • IGA and Specsavers team up for World Glaucoma Week

    Specsavers teams up-skill awareness in glaucoma - the silent thief of sight

    IN THE build up to World Glaucoma Week (11-18 March) all Specsavers teams are up-skilling to better support patients with the condition.

    Often symptomless in its early stages, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible sight loss. It is thought to affect 700,000 people in the UK today, but as many as 50% of cases are undiagnosed[1].

    In conjunction with the International Glaucoma Association, Specsavers has developed training for its retail teams to assist sufferers with their treatment. Specifically, they will be advising on how to effectively administer eye drops, which are crucial for managing the condition.

    The aim is for each store to have at least one person on the shop floor that has completed the course by World Glaucoma Week. This new training complements the skills held by Specsavers’ optometrists, who have collectively completed almost 5,000 postgraduate glaucoma accreditations since 2017, through a variety of accrediting bodies including Cardiff University and the College of Optometrists.

    Alan Murphy was just 37 when a trip to Specsavers in Connswater, Belfast, found the early stages of glaucoma.  Thanks to early detection, his condition is now managed by using eye drops daily.

    Alan, now an advocate of regular eye tests and good eye health, believes early diagnosis and careful management has saved his sight and says: ‘I would strongly urge people to go for regular eye tests, and to make the most of the advice and support provided by their local optician.’

    Karen Osborn, chief executive of IGA, says: ‘The majority of people who are diagnosed early with glaucoma will retain useful sight for life. Most will be treated with medical eye drops. Unfortunately we know from calls to our helpline that many people aren’t told about how to put the drop in the eye correctly, or aren’t advised about the aids that are available to help them.  We are delighted to work with Specsavers on this often over-looked aspect of glaucoma management.’

    - Ends -

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  • IGA partners with Hospital Pharmacy Europe to increase awareness about glaucoma eye drops

    Hospital Pharmacy Europe (HPE) and the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) are delighted to announce their partnership for 2017. The IGA will be attending the 2017 HPE LIVE conference, taking place on 21 November at Olympia London, where we will meet with hospital pharmacy teams from across the UK. The HPE LIVE team have this year worked hard to grow their partnership with key organisations involved with pharmacy and given the work that the we do, for example #DropsAndYou and our involvement with hospital pharmacy teams, it was an obvious choice to partner up!

    The HPE LIVE conference is an important date in the calendar for hospital pharmacists. The one day, free-to-attend event provides the chance to take a break from work and gain high quality, clinical updates from a panel of experts. With five streams of presentations and talks on offer, plus a Poster Zone where attendees can showcase their innovative projects and research, a Demo Zone, and exhibition, this is an event not-to-be-missed.

    We would urge all hospital pharmacists, dispensers and technicians to join us on 21 November at the event. You can book your free place here. (please hyperlink to:

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  • 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.


    Link to paper: The following link will go live at the time the embargo lifts:
    For embargoed copies of the BRAIN paper and for media enquiries please contact Maggie Stratton: +44 (0)20 7611 8609/ +44 (0)787 211 2656
    For further information about DARC technology please contact Emma Alam: +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: 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. | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews | Watch our YouTube channel

    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.

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  • 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:

    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’

    All media enquiries to Anabel Unity Sale on 020 7874 1360 or 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

    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:
    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.

    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


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  • Specsavers and IGA partnership to raise glaucoma awareness

    17 February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    - ends -

    Image – Optometrist performs glaucoma assessment

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

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

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

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

    Comments Karen Osborn, Chief Executive International Glaucoma Association

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

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

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

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

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

    The International Glaucoma Association is the charity for people with glaucoma, providing a free helpline and patient literature. Call 01233 64 81 70 or email:

     Click here for a copy of the report.



    Notes for editors:

    • *references available

    For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact: Karen Brewer, Head of Communications on: 01223 64 81 69 or email

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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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  • 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.



    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.

    For further information about IGA and glaucoma, contact: Karen Brewer, 01233 64 81 69 or email:

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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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