News

  • Helpline- currently unavailable

    Unfortunately, our helpline team will be unavailable until Monday 8 June.  In the meantime, you can email us at sightline@iga.org.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as we can next week. If you're experiencing any sudden changes with your vision, please contact your optometrist or call NHS 111.

    We are sorry for any inconvenience.

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  • New digital support groups starting in July

    The COVID-19 pandemic is changed the landscape of eye care services hugely. With non-essential hospital services on hold and most people with glaucoma self-isolating due to their age, the face to face care and support available to people with glaucoma has decreased enormously. Routine, non-emergency operations such as trabeculectomies have been delayed, meaning people may be facing an increased risk of sight loss. All glaucoma support groups have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. We are aware this is an incredibly stressful time for many, and we want to ensure advice and support are available to all who want it.

    We have decided to run a series of digital glaucoma support groups. Like a traditional support group, there would be a talk and an opportunity for people to ask any questions they have. We hope to run these with Glaucoma UK staff as well as external experts, such as an optometrist. Each webinar will follow a different theme, for example:

    • Newly diagnosed with glaucoma: understanding and managing your condition
    • Eye drops
    • The glaucoma journey, and how COVID-19 is changing eye care

    Anticipated dates and topics are listed below. All will be at 7pm and last one hour. The format will be a talk for around 30 minutes, with the remainder of time for questions. You will be able to see both the speaker and the slides. You can submit questions to the speaker via an in-built chat function. You won’t be able to see the other participants, and you won’t be visible. You can use any device which connects to the internet and has speakers – so a tablet, phone or laptop.

    To join the events, email info@iga.org.uk to reserve your place. Booking is essential. We understand many people may be nervous about taking part in these webinars. It’s new territory for you, and us! If you sign up to the webinar, you will receive full joining instructions, and we will run a test session beforehand to help people understand how it all works and have a dry run.

    We would like to thank AbbVie for their support in facilitating these sessions. Pharmaceutical company AbbVie, formerly known as Allergan, produce many glaucoma products, including Lumigan, Combigan and Ganfort eye drops and the Xen gel stent MIGS device.

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  • Mark your calendar now for Glaucoma Awareness Week 29 June – 5 July 

    For Glaucoma Awareness Week (GAW) 2020, we want more people in the UK than ever before to know just how important it is to look after your eye health and, if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with glaucoma, IGA (becoming Glaucoma UK) is here for you. 

    We have some exciting news to announce! During this year’s awareness week, we will be officially launching our new name and new visual identity for the charity. We will also kick off the week by launching our brand-new website, which has been designed to make it easier for you to find information and contains new resources to help you live well with glaucoma. There are a whole bunch of changes on the horizon, and we hope you are as excited as we are. 

    You may have noticed that we have delayed this year’s awareness week. We are hoping that by pushing this week back more people will be able to take part and organise awareness raising activities under the latest government advice. Your safety is our top priority. But if you’re planning an activity that can be done safely following social distancing guidance, then we’d love to hear from you so we can support you. 

    Whether you’re a supporter hosting a themed online quiz for your family, or a health professional ordering new glaucoma resources for your ophthalmic clinic, your involvement is so important to make our awareness week a success.  

    This year, we’ve organised a fun activity for everyone to take part in. Check back on our website on 29 June to print a copy of our new logo which can be coloured by lockdown artists of any age and displayed in your window. For younger supporters (aged 4 – 11), you can send us a photo of your design to enter our competition and have your artwork displayed on our social media. The winner, chosen by our very own graphic designer, will also be featured in our next membership magazine (more details to come).  

    And of course, if you would like to be more involved in our GAW campaign by sharing your story for use on our social media channels, send us a message using our new email address marketing@iga.org.uk and make sure you are following our Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates. 

    Join the conversation on social media by using our hashtag #GlaucomaAwarenessWeek 

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  • We're recruiting!!

    We’re looking for a new colleague to become our: Communications & PR Officer

    When? Permanent, full time 35 hours/week

    Where? IGA head office, Ashford, Kent

    What? This is a new role within our small but ambitious comms team. Are you a clear and confident communicator, and have a natural flair for storytelling? We’re looking for a skilled and energetic professional able to create and deliver high quality, inspiring multi-channel content for our magazine, awareness campaigns, email marketing schedule, social media and website.

    How do I apply? Download a job pack and application form here.

    Closing date Thursday 18 June 2020

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  • Mental Health Awareness Week: We're here for you

    We are all facing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty at the moment, and with it being Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) we want to assure you that we are here for you no matter what challenges you are facing in the current pandemic. You are not alone.

    While we must keep our distance physically, there are still ways we can connect with each other and provide help.

    Our telephone helpline is available every weekday 9.30am - 5.00pm where our friendly team are on hand to chat through your concerns and offer you support. Recently, we’ve received calls about cancelled and delayed appointments, and we’ve spoken to people concerned about being unable to attend visual field tests.

    We understand how worrying this is when you’ve committed yourself to attend every appointment and doing all you can to maintain your sight. If your glaucoma is well controlled with eye drops and there has been no deterioration, having your routine appointment delayed to a later date should not cause any problems, but it is important to be extra diligent about taking eye drops during this time.

    A huge part of looking after your mental health includes confiding in people who can relate to what you are going through or have had the same experience. It's not unusual for people who have been diagnosed or who are facing different types of glaucoma treatment or surgery to feel nervous, scared or apprehensive. Speaking to someone who has glaucoma or has already experienced these treatments can be very reassuring. We run a buddying scheme, pairing people who have concerns about their glaucoma, their treatment or have been referred for surgery. Find out more about our buddy scheme here.

    Another way you can chat with people who understand how you are feeling and are going through similar experiences, is through our glaucoma forum on our website here. You can also visit our frequently asked questions page here.

    If you are on social media, you can visit us via Facebook or twitter, here you can also connect with others on our pages, comment on our posts, message us privately and even share our content to help raise awareness to others.

    Whichever way is best for you, we can still safely connect, and you can get the support and advice you may need.

    We are here for you.

    Remember, we have a range of services available to give you the help and support you may need:

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  • Latest advice on DVLA visual field tests and renewing your driving license

    Hand on steering wheel of carOur helpline are receiving a number of calls regarding booking an appointment at Specsavers for the DVLA visual field test and also calls from people renewing their driving licence.

    At the moment when people call the DVLA they are told that they are only dealing with urgent requests from key workers.

    We understand this is a worrying time, especially if you know your licence will be expiring soon. Specsavers are not doing eye examinations at the moment due to social distancing and we are sure that the DVLA are aware of this and are taking such things into account.

    If you sat the test or have sent a form to the DVLA to renew your licence before the lockdown and have not heard anything from them, you can email them on glaucomaqueries@dvla.gov.uk

    As you can imagine the DVLA will be receiving a large volume of emails so please be patient for a reply.

    We will update this notice as soon as further information becomes available.

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  • Take on the 2.6 challenge

    Here’s your chance to be a sight saving hero from your own home – join the #TwoPointSixChallenge.

    Save the UK's charities

    Take on a challenge

    We need your support now more than ever. Many fundraising events in the UK have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, while we hope they will go ahead at a later date, in the meantime we have lost a valuable income stream

    Can you help us to maintain our services by taking part in the 2.6 Challenge? You can find out how to raise funds for us and how to have fun during the lockdown by clicking here.

    The challenge is to do something based at home around the numbers 2.6 or 26. Maybe walk 2.6 miles? Bake 26 cupcakes? Share this post with 26 friends?

    We’d love to hear what challenges you come up with and to see you in action. Simply sign up, raise vital fund to save sight and then share your videos and photos with us.

    Remember, you don’t have to do anything wacky to take part. You can still make a difference and be a sight saving hero from your own home by simply donating to us – any gift large or small will really help.

    Donate here

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  • We are becoming… Glaucoma UK

    We will be changing our name to Glaucoma UK in summer 2020

    IGA logo with text 'becoming Glaucoma UK'

    What’s in a name? Well, as it turns out, a lot. The decision to change our name follows lengthy discussions with patients and professionals about how we can reach more people affected by glaucoma in the UK.

    When we reviewed the evidence, we found that our current name is holding us back: many people don’t realise we are a charity, and many don’t think we offer support services to people in the UK. That means we aren’t able to help them. Our members and supporters overwhelmingly felt the name ‘International Glaucoma Association’ doesn’t accurately describe what we do.

    As a membership organisation, we need to do all we can to increase visibility among people affected by glaucoma, and be as inclusive as possible so that we can accurately convey the patient perspective and advocate for services that meet peoples’ real needs. That means being clear about who we are and what we do, and we feel the name ‘Glaucoma UK’ helps us achieve that clarity.

    Changing our name isn’t a decision we have taken lightly.

    Last year we reviewed evidence that had be collected over time from people using our helpline and support groups, and who we’ve met at events and awareness weeks. We also commissioned a survey of the general public to help us understand awareness of glaucoma and the IGA. While 80% of respondents had heard of glaucoma, 73% weren’t aware of any charity that supports people with the condition.

    That’s something we want to change.

    After careful consideration of all the evidence, our board of trustees – comprising both patients and medical professionals – agreed the change, which will happen in summer. In practical terms that means creating a new and exciting visual identity for the charity. We are also reviewing our support and advice materials and making sure they are as accessible as possible. All this alongside developing a new website that will make it easier for you to manage your relationship with us and find the information and help you need.

    To those of you who kindly donate or subscribe via Direct Debit, and to those of you who have generously left us a gift in your Will, please rest assured that there is no need to amend your instructions. Glaucoma UK will become our ‘brand name’ and our new public face, but the IGA will remain our legal identity. Our charity and company numbers won’t change, so donations and payments made to either ‘Glaucoma UK’ or to ‘the International Glaucoma Association’ will be honoured. But if you have any questions please do just give us a call.

    This is an opportunity for us to reach more of the people who really need us. We’re excited about the changes and we hope you are too.

    Karen Osborn,
    Chief Executive

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  • Coronavirus: Information for glaucoma patients

    The coronavirus pandemic is impacting all NHS services, and eye services are no exception.

    If the situation is causing you stress or anxiety, we’re here to support you.  We know that as a nation, we need to support the NHS at this time and we understand there will be sacrifices, but we also know that this isn’t always easy to cope with.  You don’t need to cope alone.  If you’d like to talk to someone just  call our glaucoma helpline on 01233 64 81 70 from Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 5:00pm.

    So how are hospital glaucoma services being affected by coronavirus?

    Hospitals across the UK have started deferring all routine work.  This includes outpatient appointments and surgery.

    OUTPATIENTS: If you’re  a glaucoma outpatient, your medical record will probably be assessed, by the clinical team and unfortunately only the most urgent cases will be seen.  Unless you’re assessed as having a very high risk of sight loss within months, the hospital will probably contact you to DEFER your appointment.  This is expected to be the case for virtual or optometrist-led clinics too.

    NEW PATIENTS: It’s likely that only those at very high risk of sight loss within months will be seen at the hospital. People with very high intraocular pressure, sudden visual loss or acute angle closure are likely to be treated as ‘urgent’, but all other cases will probably be deferred.  This is necessary in order to ensure that the most critical cases can be treated using limited resources.

    SURGERY: We expect that almost all glaucoma surgery WILL BE DEFERRED unless it falls into the new definition of urgent, i.e. only patients with a very high risk of  sight loss within months, of a kind that seriously threatens quality of life.

    If you were due to have surgery in the coming weeks or months, your hospital will probably be in touch.  It may be that a change in your eye drop regime may be introduced as a satisfactory temporary solution, and we hope eye clinic staff would discuss this with you.  We understand this will be frustrating and unsettling for people who may have already waited many months for surgery, but these are unprecedented circumstances and we need to ensure NHS staff are available to help deal with the current emergency situation, as well as preventing unnecessary visits to hospital.

    GETTING IN TOUCH

    Eye clinics will be trying to contact patients informing them of the situation with their treatment.  If you are called in for treatment and feel you are high risk and don’t want to go to the hospital in person, you can ask for a telephone consultation.  But please remember that we’re in a period of unprecedented demand on NHS services, and services at different hospitals will vary.

    Please don’t go to the hospital unless you have a confirmed appointment.  You may expose yourself, doctors and other hospital staff to coronavirus.

    COMMUNITY OPTOMETRY

    Routine community eye health checks are likely to be cancelled, and community optometrists will probably be available for emergency care only.  If your appointment has been cancelled, your optometrist will contact you and provide you with information about when a future appointment might take place.  Realistically this could be some months away.

    While appointments are being deferred, they aren’t being cancelled forever. It’s important that you are seen again in clinic when things improve, so if you haven’t heard from the hospital once the crisis has passed,  you may wish to contact the hospital to check you’re still in the system.

    In these difficult times, good eye drop use is absolutely essential in maintaining your sight. Please remember to use your drops regularly, and as prescribed by your doctor.

    You can find more help here

    https://www.glaucoma-association.com/about-glaucoma/treatments/eye-drops

    And finally, some topical advice for those who wear glasses or contact lenses.

    • It’s best to stick to soap and water when washing your hands to administer eye drops or handle contact lenses, rather than using hand sanitiser.
    • Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser will help to rid your glasses of potentially harmful surface particles, but do avoid contact with the lenses, because some ingredients may affect the quality of the lens’ surface. It’s also likely to smear or leave streaks on your lenses unless properly rinsed and dried.
    • Anti-bacterial hand sanitisers are likely to contain alcohol, so it’s important to avoid contact with the eyes as it may cause irritation. To help avoid this, use a glasses cleaning liquid or a diluted pH neutral hand wash”.

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  • Upcoming IGA events cancelled

    In light of the continued spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK government has advised the public to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid contact with others.

    Following this advice we have cancelled all upcoming IGA patient conferences and IGA-organised Glaucoma Support Groups.  We know it may come as a disappointment, but it is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of patients and staff.

    If you attend other support groups organised by hospitals and other organisations, please be aware that these will also be affected.

    Our glaucoma helpline remains open and our advisors can provide advice and support as always.  The helpline is open Monday-Friday from 09:30 to 17:00 on 01233 64 81 70.

    On our website we also have an online forum, which provides a platform for people to connect with others living with glaucoma, share experiences and ask questions.  This can be found at https://www.glaucoma-association.com/glaucoma-forum/

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