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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • Specsavers and IGA partnership to raise glaucoma awareness

    PRESS RELEASE
    17 February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    - ends -

    Image – Optometrist performs glaucoma assessment

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

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

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

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  • Events for Visually Impaired Visitors January – March 2017

     

    vvvAll V&A events are accessible to blind or partially sighted visitors, and an accompanying friend or carer may claim free entry. We also offer concessionary entry to V&A exhibitions for blind or partially sighted visitors and free entry for up to 2 friends or carers.

    We hope your visit to the V&A will be easy and enjoyable. To arrange for specific support, please contact the V&A Contact Centre.

    If you would like to receive this newsletter via email in future, please email us at disability@vam.ac.uk.

    All events start from the Meeting Point, Grand Entrance.

    TOUCH TOURS & DESCRIPTIVE TOURS:

    Glastonbury: Land and Legend (Descriptive Tour)

    Tuesday 17 January, 11.0012.00

    The Camera Exposed (Descriptive Tour)

    Thursday 16 February 2017, 11.00 – 12.00

    Exploration and Exploitation (Touch Tour)

    Wednesday 8 March 2017, 11.00 – 12.00

    Free, advanced booking essential

    To book: Call 020 7942 2211

    Fax 020 7942 2524

    Email: bookings.office@vam.ac.uk

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  • NATIONAL EYE HEALTH WEEK: TOP SURGEON WARNS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF MISSING GLAUCOMA TREATMENT

    As part of the IGA’s ‘It’s Black or White, Save your Sight. Use your Eye Drops.’ campaign, for this year’s National Eye Health Week* (19-25 September), IGA Chair and Consultant Ophthalmologist, Keith Barton warns that correct and regular instillation of eye drops is essential to control glaucoma.

    There are an estimated 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged, usually by excessive pressure within the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to serious loss of vision, with up to 40 per cent of sight being permanently lost before the effects are noticed by the individual.   Fortunately glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness and for the majority of glaucoma patients, daily eye drops are a simple solution to control their condition and save their sight.

    For this year’s campaign, the IGA will be focusing on the issues that they know people with glaucoma face when it comes to taking eye drops. Mr Barton comments, “Most people diagnosed with glaucoma will be able to manage their own treatment by taking eye drops. Used regularly they help to keep the eye pressure to an appropriate level, reducing the risk of visual loss. If you are having difficulty, talk to your ophthalmologist or contact the IGA who can help and provide advice.”

    A recent study showed that 57% of glaucoma patients have some difficulty administering eye drops[1]. Reasons for not taking eye drops correctly included: forgetting when doses were due (38%), difficulty with the dropper bottle (18%), difficulty getting drops in the eye (11%) and not having medication to hand (10%).”

    Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of the IGA comments, ‘We know from calls to our helpline and from patient support groups that many glaucoma patients are not told that eye drops are a lifelong treatment and are not told how to administer their drops correctly. For this year’s National Eye Health Week our ‘It’s Black or White, Save Your Sight’ campaign aims to educate glaucoma patients nationwide about the importance of administering their eye drops correctly and our new poster for hospitals, GPs’ surgeries and pharmacies gives a step by step guide to taking eye drops.'

    More information can be obtained from the IGA website, www.glaucoma-association.com or by calling 01233 64 81 70 where staff are available Monday to Friday 9.30-5.00pm. There are also more than 70 patient support groups throughout the country. These groups allow patients to meet with health professionals and talk about glaucoma and related treatments in a more relaxed, informal setting. To make a donation to the IGA, visit the IGA Just Giving page.

    Note to editors: [1] Research carried out by FreshMinds Research, on behalf of The College of Optometrists between 30 April 2010 and 12 May 2010 amongst a panel of 4,004 respondents.

    Glaucoma Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the back of the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.

    *National Eye Health Week

    National Eye Health Week is an annual event where eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.

    For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact:

    Annabel Hillary, 07884 430862, annabel@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk

    Or Mary-Jane Greenhalgh, 07866 722051, maryjane@prwhenyouneedit.co.uk or Karen Brewer on: DD: 01233 64 81 69; M: 07976 08 52 40; k.brewer@iga.org.uk,

    For more information about glaucoma, visit: www.glaucoma-association.com

    About the International Glaucoma Association:

    1. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit:

    www.glaucoma-association.com

    1. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England & Wales.
    2. As part of its support services, it operates the IGA Sightline (helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.

    4. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 78 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).

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  • 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”.

    -ends-

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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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  • 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
    -ENDS-
    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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