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Next Week Is World Glaucoma Week PDF
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Current Affairs
Wednesday, 06 March 2013

WGW 2013As an extensive worldwide campaign is launched to observe this year's World Glaucoma Week, which is held from 10 to 16 March 2013. World Glaucoma Patient Association President and President of the Antigua/Barbuda Glaucoma Support Group, Dr. Jillia Bird advocates formation of small patient support groups in every country, on every continent to take the management of this Sneak Thief of Sight to another level.

In the lead up to World Glaucoma Week, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) interviewed two patients with Glaucoma to stress the importance of early detection and effective treatment. Ophthalmologist Professor Stuart Graham is a glaucoma specialist, with a particular interest in techniques for early diagnosis of glaucoma. He has been seeing one of his patients, Debra Peat, for over 20 years. Debra (aged 57) has a family history of glaucoma, with her father and two other family members all having the disease. Debra was lucky enough to have her glaucoma detected early. Debra's treatment includes the use of eye drops every night and a check up with Prof Graham every six months. She would like to stress the importance of regular eye tests to anyone who is delaying getting tested. 

The story is slightly different for another one of Prof Graham's patients, 40 year old Ricky Yu. Ricky first discovered he had a problem with his eyes when he was 34. Ricky explains, "I was writing in a diary on my side, one eye was covered up, and I realised I couldn't read the words on the page with my open eye. I first saw a GP, who referred me to an ophthalmologist, who diagnosed that I in fact had glaucoma." Through Ricky's treatment (eye drops) his eye pressure has improved, however unfortunately the disease wasn't identified early enough and he maintains vision loss that is irreversible.

Industry Experts Urge Optical Retailers To Look At Patients As Consumers PDF
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Current Affairs
Monday, 11 February 2013

In response to increasing pressure from "big box" retailers, independent practitioners need to change their behavior to survive and thrive, according to two ophthalmic industry experts speaking during a webinar recently held. Essilor hosted the discussion, with a guest speaker from VSP Vision Care and a live question-and-answer session.

Essilor senior vice president of customer development, Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, told participants that private optometry practices in Australia and the United Kingdom are being overshadowed by Specsavers, and that U.S. optometrists must plan ahead to prevent a similar situation from occurring.

Purcell said private practitioners need to innovate in the areas of communication, office design and products. "Technology is driving consumer habits," he said. "We need to embrace the fact that we have to look at a patient as a consumer, because we’re competing with large groups that understand that."

Dan Mannen, OD, FAAO, a member of the VSP Global Board of Directors, listed areas that independent practitioners should be addressing to thrive in today’s changing environment: personalized dispensing, materials education, transparent pricing, online scheduling, online communication and ease of purchase and pick-up.

In Australia, PlanetVA Pty Ltd, a company that specialises in IT solutions for optical retailers can assist independent practitioners with effective and efficient online solutions to achieve this.

Emporio Armani Available in Specsavers Stores PDF
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Current Affairs
Wednesday, 23 January 2013

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World Sight Day Shines Global Spotlight on Avoidable Blindness PDF
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Monday, 08 October 2012

World Sight Day

October 11th is World Sight Day, a global observance uniting citizens, nonprofit groups and corporations in an effort to fight eye disorders and improve the lives of those suffering with these disorders. Of the 40 million blind people in the world, 80 percent have avoidable blindness that can be prevented or treated by cost-effective means. However, millions of people remain at risk of visual loss due to unhealthy lifestyle or lack of access to eye-care services.

Here are some eye-opening statistics:

Cataract: While cataract surgery is one of the most cost-effective health-care treatments2, cataracts represent almost half of all causes of blindness, accounting for almost 18 million cases.

Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism: Despite the growing availability of low-cost spectacles, approximately 153 million people suffer visual impairment from these and other types of refractive errors.

Trachoma: Caused by a bacterial infection of the eye, often resulting from poor water supplies and unsanitary living conditions, trachoma is widespread in 55 countries, affecting about 80 million people.

Blindness Caused by Diabetes: Known as Diabetic Retinopathy, this condition affects 40-45 percent of American diabetics. After 15 years, 10 percent of diabetics develop severe visual loss and 2 percent become blind; once vision has been lost to diabetic retinopathy, it usually cannot be restored.

Glaucoma: Often called “the sneak thief of sight” because it can strike without common symptoms. Given the aging population, the World Health Organization projects that almost 80 million people will have glaucoma by 2020.

People in developing Nations face higher burden of blindness. Ninety percent of the world’s blind live in developing nations, where multiple factors contribute to higher prevalence of blindness and visual impairment. This includes countries like India, with more than nine million blind people; China, with more than six million blind people; and other nations in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Historically, these countries have a higher prevalence of Vitamin A Deficiency, River blindness and infections such as trachoma, the leading causes of preventable childhood blindness. People living in rural villages and urban slums in these countries are particularly vulnerable to avoidable blindness due to a lack of access to basic eye care resources.

“The causes of avoidable blindness are frequently associated with poverty and lack of access to quality eye care services,” says Dr. Gullapalli Nag Rao, founder of L V Prasad Eye Institute in India, which has treated more than 15 million patients—more than half at no cost—since its establishment in 1987. “With advances in medical science enabling more effective and affordable preventions and treatments of these conditions, we now have an opportunity to make significant progress in the quest to end avoidable blindness. To that end, it is critical for concerned individuals and groups around the world to continue working together to build awareness of this issue and to support initiatives that promote good eye health.”

AR Eyeglasses Not Allowed At....McDonald's Paris PDF
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Current Affairs
Thursday, 19 July 2012

Eyetap - MannEarlier this month, visually impaired Canadian scientist and University of Toronto Professor Steve Mann, claims he was brutalised and kicked out of a Paris McDonald’s after employees objected to his Augmented Reality (AR) glasses and its ability to record photos and videos of his experiences. Though augmented reality headsets like Google’s Project Glass have just started making headlines this year, Mann has been wearing his own home-brewed "EyeTap Digital Glass" computers every day since the early 1980s.

The case made ​​headlines on the Internet. The visually impaired Canadian scientist Steve Mann explains on his blog that he was expelled forcibly from McDonald's at the Champs-Elysees in Paris for wearing his AR glasses. Steve Mann has designed his "Digital Eye Glass", which offered him for the last 13 years the necessary autonomy in his daily live. The glasses include a miniature camera built into the frame.

When he, his wife and their two children were in line to purchase food at the Paris McDonald’s an employee approached and informed them that cameras were not allowed in the establishment. After Mann presented the employee with a doctor’s note he carries with him that states he needs to wear his headgear, the employee let him through and a cashier took his order.  But a bit later two other employees simply teared off his eyewear. The scene was filmed entirely by the built-in "eye-spy" camera and Steve Mann has used some of pictures for his blog post regarding this incident.

This Week Is World Glaucoma Week PDF
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Current Affairs
Tuesday, 13 March 2012

GlaucomaGlaucoma is a major cause of preventable blindness in Australia. Yet it is still a littleknown disease in the community. Worldwide, approximately 7.5 million people are blind as a result of undetected and untreated glaucoma.

During World Glaucoma Week from March 11-17, Glaucoma Australia urges all Australians to take action. Be Eye Wise, ensure to have regular eye checks. This serious and common eye disease silently destroys vision. Over 300,000 Australians have some form of glaucoma, sadly half this number are unaware they have the condition. Most cases are detected after some permanent loss of vision has occurred.

Glaucoma Australia is hosting large format roadside billboards across Australian capital cities as it highlights the need for regular eye checks, to not “let glaucoma darken your life”. Six billboards- five on major highways and one in a major domestic airport, ask people to have an eye check before it’s too late.  This is emphasizing the fact that most people suffer some loss of vision before their glaucoma is diagnosed.

The National Executive Officer of Glaucoma Australia, Mr Geoff Pollard, said only half of the people with glaucoma in Australia are diagnosed and people need to undergo a comprehensive eye check, including a review of the optic nerve head at an earlier age, certainly by 40 and particularly if they have risk factors such as a positive family history or a particular ethnic background.

The billboards are up to 12.5 metres long and make a statement during the whole month of March, including World Glaucoma Week. Display panels in adjacent large shopping centres provide a further call to action. 

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