News

  • 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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  • IGA campaign extends to Notting Hill Carnival 2014

    20 August 2014

    The International Glaucoma Association will be advertising at the Notting Hill Carnival (23 to 25 August) as part of the organisations campaign to raise awareness of the need for African Caribbean’s to have regular eye tests to detect glaucoma and prevent blindness from glaucoma.

    Comments Russell Young: “The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe. We are pleased to be involved, and hope that our advertising on screens throughout the Carnival will encourage people to book an eye health check”.

    This latest advertisement builds on the last 12 month’s activity aimed at the African Caribbean audience which began in Manchester with billboard campaigns and extended throughout National Glaucoma Awareness Week, June 2014 with advertising in bus shelters in London, promotions with African Caribbean newspapers, local community activity and press and PR.

    The risk of glaucoma increases over the age of 40. People of African Caribbean origin are four times more likely to develop glaucoma when compared to Europeans, and are more likely for it to develop earlier and be more severe. These are some of the messages that IGA has been stressing throughout the campaign.

    “We hope that our activity will act as a wake-up call and encourage people to book an eye test, or to call our helpline and speak to our advisors about the health of their eyes. In this way we aim to reach some of the 300,000 people with undiagnosed glaucoma in the UK.  With no symptoms in its early stages most members of the public have little or no knowledge of the damage that undetected glaucoma can have on their sight. Once sight is lost, it is never recovered”, concludes Young.

    -ends-

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  • IGA Announces Research Awards 2015

    12 August 2014

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) announces the availability of £200,000 for critical research into glaucoma. The research grants will be awarded to a range of professionals dedicated to glaucoma research and the management and care of patients with glaucoma.

    Those benefiting from research grants will include:

    1. IGA/Royal College of Ophthalmologists joint award = £75,000  (closing date 30 January 2015)
    2. IGA/UK and Eire Glaucoma Society joint award = £75,000 (closing date 22 September 2014)
    3. IGA/College of Optometrists joint award = £25,000 (closing date, 1 May 2015)
    4. IGA/Royal College of Nursing joint award = £25,000 (closing date 27 February 2015)

    Commenting on the research awards programme, CEO Russell Young said:

    “Since IGA was first formed in 1974, research has been integral to our work. We are committed to supporting the many professionals who work tirelessly to investigate, manage and care for people with glaucoma. It is this work that enables us to provide accurate, evidence-based support and information and to advance the understanding of glaucoma and future therapies that could become available”.

    Successful research projects for 2014 have included: research into self tonometry and its accuracy against the clinical standard; nurses knowledge of glaucoma in care home settings; the validation of the Patient reported Outcome and Experience Measure (POEM) to transform the doctor/patient relationship; evaluation of the glaucoma passport and its effectiveness in enhancing patients’ self-care; the identification of novel genetic variants for primary open angle glaucoma; and looking at the  neuroprotection of human retinal ganglion cells by platelet derived growth factor and human stem cells in order to develop long term treatments for severe glaucoma progressing despite conventional eye pressure lowering treatment.

    Applications and full details of the awards can be found at http://www.glaucoma-association.com/i-am-a-professional.html. For more information please contact Richenda Kew on 01233 64 81 64 or email: R.Kew@iga.org.uk. To interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact: Karen Brewer, Head of Marketing & PR on 01223 64 81 69 or email: marketing@iga.org.uk

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  • Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study (TAGS)

    18 July 2014

    A new study comparing treatments for advanced glaucoma has recently started. TAGS will compare two standard NHS treatments - medical management (eye drops) or surgery (trabeculectomy) - to find out which is better in terms of participants’ quality of life.

    Participating hospitals will seek to recruit new referrals to glaucoma clinics (via GPs or optometrists) to participate. Patients will be eligible if they have advanced glaucoma in at least one of their eyes and treatment is required to lower eye pressure to prevent further visual loss. Patients with advanced glaucoma must be recruited into the study within 3 months of their diagnosis. Patients who consent to take part will be randomly assigned to one of the two treatments. At least 20 hospitals across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will participate in the Study.

    Patients will be asked to complete questionnaires about their vision.  In addition, the questionnaires will ask about their experiences and opinions of the treatment they received. Questionnaires will be completed either in the patient’s home or at clinic, as appropriate. Participants will be followed-up for approximately two years and will complete questionnaires when they join the study and then again at approximately 1, 3, 4, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months later. Because patients’ quality of life is the main measurement used in TAGS, the answers to these questions are the most important information collected in the study. The study will also gather clinical information about participants’ vision and eye health when they routinely visit the eye clinic.

    TAGS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.

    If you would like more information about this trial please follow the link below:

    https://www.tagsstudy.co.uk

    1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2011 Impact Factor (4.255) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download, free of charge, from the website. The HTA Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hta
    2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).

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  • Call to Action - Improving Eye Health and Reducing Sight Loss

    NHS England launched Improving eye health and reducing sight loss – a Call to Action on 12 June 2014.

    The IGA will be working with others to provide a national response to this consultation, but urges both the public and professionals to get involved.

    The call to action aims to focus on taking a more preventative approach to eye care, with early detection by primary care services and effective management in the community.

    In formulating the IGA response, we will be seeking the view of our group of trustees which includes ophthalmologists, opticians, ophthalmic nurses and most importantly people with glaucoma.

    NHS England wants to hear from the public, patients and professionals before 12 September. Everyone is entitled to provide a response and can do so by completing the online survey or by printing off the accessible form. https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/895da3ca

    Local events will be taking place around the country to encourage everyone to become involved. A full list of these, together with links to other information is available on the Local Optical Committee Support Unit website. http://www.locsu.co.uk/communications/calltoaction

    The results of the Call to Action will be used to decide the future development of eye health services, and represents a significant opportunity for people with glaucoma and the professionals who manage them to provide a strong, coherent response to achieving the best possible patient centred care.

    For further information about the IGA response and activity to support this consultation please contact: k.brewer@iga.org.uk http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/qual-clin-lead/calltoaction/eye-cta/

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