News

  • European Coalition for Vision calls for more harmonized data collected at EU level

    10 December 2014

    European Coalition for Vision (ECV) regrets the lack of data on vision impairment in Europe and calls for more harmonized data collected at EU level to provide better policy advice to decision-makers. Vision is a vital part of the health dimension that is too often neglected. ECV’s objective is promote a EU eye health indicator that would address this issue.  European Coalition for Vision welcomes the report “Health at a glance: Europe 2014” presented on 3rd December 2014 by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis. The report, based mainly on the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI), highlights key trends in health, providing a state of play of Europe’s health.  Chair of ECV, Mr. Peter Ackland, stated: “This report is essential as it provides a good overview of the state of health in the member states. We call on the Commission and Member States to develop and promote a EU eye health indicator, that would complement the data on health to include the field of vision – that would help stimulate further public policy actions in the eye health domain”.  Representing professional bodies, patient groups, European and national health, and disability NGOs as well as trade associations representing suppliers, the ECV aims at raising the profile of eye health and vision to reduce the unacceptably high levels of avoidable vision impairment and blindness, and to secure an equal and inclusive society for those with low vision and irreversible blindness in Europe.  More information on ECV can be found: http://www.ecvision.eu/ Manifesto: http://www.ecvision.eu/manifesto/  For further information on the European Coalition for Vision, please contact:  Zoe Gray zgray@iapb.org

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  • Visual component of UK driving test needs modernising

    26 November 2014

    Researchers from City University London have found that the visual component of the UK driving test is outdated.

    Using the latest technology, the study - which is published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology - shows that the current test used to assess fitness to drive is likely not assessing the right areas of the visual field. The findings might prompt the design of a fairer eye sight test ensuring with greater accuracy that only those safe to drive are present on the roads.

    To measure the effects of different visual impairments the researchers developed a novel computer setup. This technology gave people with normal vision ‘simulated’ sight loss in different areas of their vision whilst they tried to detect hazards in movies of driving scenes.

    The team found that a loss of the upper part of someone’s visual field had a larger impact on their ability to detect driving hazards than those with a loss in the lower part. Unfortunately the current test used by DSA (Driving Standards Agency) to assess patients with eye disease tends to test more areas in the lower part of the visual field.

    David Crabb, lead author on the study and Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City University London, said:

    “The current test used to examine the visual field component for legal fitness to drive in patients with eye disease in the UK is far from ideal. Our study goes some little way to highlight this.

    “The visual component of fitness to drive is a very tricky to assess. Yet, at the moment some people are losing or retaining their driving licence on a far from perfect test. We need more research in this area, especially on what parts of vision are needed for safe driving.”

    Russell Young, CEO of International Glaucoma Association, which provided a research award to fund this work said:

    “These are important early findings which begin to question the suitability of the Esterman visual field test that is currently being used to assess a person’s fitness and safety to drive. People with glaucoma in both eyes are required by the DSA to take this test; they are often worried about what to expect, and stressed about the impact on their quality of life if they have to relinquish their licence.

    “The current test developed over 30 years ago, was not designed with driving in mind and, as this new research highlights, it probably doesn’t test the important parts of the visual field well enough. Further investment is needed to fund the design and development of improved tests and technology for assessing the visual field component of fitness to drive.”

    “It is vital that people with glaucoma and other visual impairments as well as the driving authorities are confident in the tests and equipment being used.”

    -Ends-

    Click here for a copy of the study http://www.glaucoma-association.com/research-grants/impact-of-superior-and-inferior-visual-field-loss-on-hazard-detection-in-a-computer-based-driving-test.html. To speak to Professor David Crabb (@crabblab), please contact George Wigmore, Senior Communications Officer at the School of Health Sciences, City University London. E: george.wigmore.1@city.ac.uk T: 0207 040 8782 M: 07989 643 112

    For more information please contact: Karen Brewer (International Glaucoma Association), 01233 64 81 64. M: 0751 636 9630. email: k.brewer@iga.org.uk

    For more information about Glaucoma and Driving, see the IGA driving leaflet. http://www.glaucoma-association.com/blog/new-driving-and-glaucoma-leaflet-available.html

    About The International Glaucoma Association

    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

    About City University London

    City University London is a global University committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location.  It is in the top five per cent of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/14 and in the top thirty universities in the UK according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2012. It is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Good University Guide 2014) and in the top 5 for graduate starting salaries (Lloyds Bank).

    The University attracts over 17,000 students (35% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries and academic staff from over 50 countries.  Its academic range is broadly-based with world leading strengths in business; law; health sciences; engineering; mathematical sciences; informatics; social sciences; and the arts including journalism and music. The University’s history dates back to 1894, with the foundation of the Northampton Institute on what is now the main part of City’s campus. In 1966, City was granted University status by Royal Charter and the Lord Mayor of London was invited to be Chancellor, a unique arrangement that continues today. Professor Paul Curran has been Vice-Chancellor of City University London since 2010.

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  • New Driving and Glaucoma leaflet available

    21 November 2014

    The new Driving and glaucoma leaflet is now available, free of charge from the IGA. The leaflet includes information on when to report glaucoma to the DVLA, the tests that the DVLA will ask the applicant to take, what to expect from the tests and from the testing optometrist (optician). Additional information includes clarification on the testing conditions for the visual field test and the fact that up to three visual field tests can be taken in certain circumstances.

    Comments Karen Brewer, Head of Marketing and PR, “driving and the possible loss of a licence can be a traumatic experience for people with glaucoma. Around ten per cent of calls to our helpline are from people who are worried or concerned about the tests, the process, and the results. We hope that this leaflet addresses those questions and concerns, and is useful to people who may be reapplying for their licence, whether for the first time, or for subsequent renewals”.

    For more information on Driving and Glaucoma, or any aspect of glaucoma, contact our helpline on info@iga.org.uk or call: 01233 64 81 70.

    The IGA provides individual leaflets free of charge on request to all individuals and to professionals in batches of 50. Please order by email through contacting: info@iga.org.uk or calling 01233 64 81 64 or order via the website: https://www.glaucoma-association.com/shop/cat/14.html

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  • How watching TV can help to detect glaucoma

    20 November 2014

    Professor David Crabb of City of London University explains on the BBC World Service, how research has used eye tracking software coupled with popular TV, to detect glaucoma. The research is fascinating and shows how advances in technology, investment in eye tracking software, can be used to both help and provide possible options for ongoing management of the condition, which is life-long.

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  • Bono helps to raise awareness of glaucoma

    21 October 2014

    The recent announcement by U2 lead singer Bono having had glaucoma for the last 20 years, has helped to raise national and international awareness of the sight loss condition. Whilst it is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today, about half of these are undiagnosed. Widespread national press coverage of Bono's announcement will lead to more people thinking about their eye health, and having regular checks at their local optician.

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  • World Sight Day 2014

    BRUSSELS, 09.10.2014

    On the occasion of World Sight Day, the European Coalition for Vision (ECV) set an ambitious objective to leverage vision and eye health at European level. World Sight Day is a global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed worldwide on the second Thursday of October each year.

    Meeting on 8th October 2014 in Brussels, members of the European Coalition for Vision agreed to develop and promote a European vision and eye health indicator. Today, more than 80 European Core Health Indicators exist, but none of the current health indicators fully addresses the eye health issue. Health indicators are sets of data (tables, graphs, maps) on health status, determinants and care in EU Member States and play an important role in supporting policy development.

    Mr Peter Ackland, Chair of the ECV stated: ‘ECV’s role is to alert European public authorities on the issue of vision and eye health. ECV is therefore asking for the creation  and implementation of an EU-wide recognized eye health indicator – in order to collect detailed and harmonized data and consequently better shape European public policy in that respect’.

    In parallel, EFAB (European Forum Against Blindness), EGS (European Glaucoma Society), EGDF (European Guide Dog Federation) and ECV presented in the European Parliament with an information stand on preventable blindness. Numerous Members of European Parliament had the opportunity to have a digital retina photograph taken by members of ECOO (European Council of Optometry and Optics) and to learn more about vision and eye health.  On 7th October, Honourable Members of European Parliament Marian Harkin, Richard Howitt and Pilar Ayuso also hosted a dinner-debate on “Vision for Europe: addressing the challenge of avoidable blindness” at the European Parliament.

    Representing professional bodies, patient groups, European and national health, and disability NGOs as well as trade associations, the ECV aims at raising the profile of eye health and vision, to prevent avoidable visual impairment and secure an equal and inclusive society for those with low vision and irreversible blindness in Europe.

    More information on ECV can be found: http://www.ecvision.eu/

    Manifesto: http://www.ecvision.eu/manifesto/  

    For further information on the European Coalition for Vision, please contact:

    Zoe Gray zgray@iapb.org

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  • New Sight loss guide for general practitioners

    3 October 2014 Comments Russell Young, CEO of the IGA on the launch of the new Sight loss in older people guide for general practitioners: “It is estimated there are 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK, but half remain undetected, GPs can play a vital role in helping to identify people with an increased risk of glaucoma. This includes first degree relatives of a known glaucoma patient, people of African Caribbean descent, myopics and diabetics. GPs can recommend these people, as well as those over the age of 40, have regular eye health checks. GPs are also ideally placed to ensure glaucoma patients are taking their eye drops correctly and are continuing to renew prescriptions. All too often, we hear of patients who struggle with the dropper bottle, have difficulty administering the drop to the eye, and then default from treatment. Glaucoma is life-long, and without the drops, glaucoma patients are at risk of losing sight. We look forward to working with primary care in the future, and are delighted with the launch of this Sight loss in older people guide”.

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  • Survey reveals GPs not confident in detecting eye conditions

    1 October 2014

    A new survey produced by UK Vision Strategy and the Royal College of General Practitioners, reveals that GPs in the UK are not confident in detecting early signs of major eye disease. When asked about diagnosing glaucoma, over half (51 per cent) said that they would not be confident.

    For full information see the press release by clicking here Report

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  • The IGA at Notting Hill Carnival 2014

    27 August 2014

    Raising awareness of the need for eye tests amongst the African Caribbean community at Notting Hill Carnival 2014. Click on the Notting Hill Carnival live stream link: http://www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com/

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  • National Eye Health Week 22 to 28 September 2014

    The IGA will be supporting the fifth National Eye Health Week (NEHW) which takes place on the 22 – 28 September 2014.  The week provides an opportunity for eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK to join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all. The IGA will be providing promotional stands in hospitals through Kent, and profiling glaucoma and its impact on vision in national newspaper supplements.

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