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Thailand Issues New Banknote With Braille PDF
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International News
Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Thai BanknoteThe Bank of Thailand has recently issued a new 20 Baht banknote. The new notes have high-technology anti-counterfeiting measures. They also have Braille so the blind can identify the value. The watermark of Thai numeral 20 is specially transparent when held against the light; the green security thread embedded into the paper will change to the color of red-purple when user tilts the new banknotes; and the use of raised features and matching element techniques on denomination numeral. In addition, the banknotes were made of better paper quality to provide the longer life cycle.

New Initiatives Launched in UK To Address Decline of Independent Optical Sector PDF
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International News
Thursday, 30 May 2013

Under the auspices of The Association of Optometrists (AOP), a number of UK optical businesses have formed an Independent Practice Support Group to look at ways to halt the decline in independent practices in the UK optical sector. Essilor, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Luxottica and Transitions are pooling expertise, ideas and resources to address the contraction of the independent sector in the UK.

AOP Chairman, Lyndon Taylor, said: “While the AOP supports all its members irrespective of how they practise, it is clear that a vibrant independent sector is good for choice for both the public and the profession.”  Mike Kirkley, Managing Director of Essilor Ltd, said: “As a group, we are delighted to be working with such esteemed partners on a common objective – to secure the long-term success and viability of independent optical practitioners throughout the UK.”

The group has already embarked on consumer research to understand more about the public’s perception of the independent sector. This research will be used by the forum to design and test future pilot programs in the market.

In other related news, VSP Vision Care announced that it will expand eye care offerings to the United Kingdom as VSP Neighborhood Eyecare, following its expansion from the U.S. into Australia and Canada, according to a company press release.

VSP is partnering with the Association of Optometrists (AOP), National Eyecare Group, Generali U.K. and Thomsons Online Benefits in alliances that will focus on increasing awareness of the importance of eye exams and corrective eye wear for employees, the VSP release said.

Australian Government To Provide Funding To Tackle Avoidable Blindness In Asia Pacific PDF
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International News
Friday, 10 May 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced last week that the Australian Government will provide funding to two Australian organisations to help tackle avoidable blindness in developing countries in the Asia Pacific.

Senator Carr said the Australian Government was committed to helping our closest neighbours respond to the issue of avoidable blindness, announcing funding for the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation and Sight for All Limited to host three Australia Awards Fellowship Programs.

Senator Carr made the announcements in Sydney at the launch of a series of reports commissioned by the Fred Hollows Foundation and prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which confirm the considerable economic and social benefits of investing in eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries.

The Australian Government has invested more than $85 million since 2008 to support developing countries in our region address avoidable blindness. This investment has helped to deliver more than 400,000 vision screenings, 27,000 sight-restoring surgeries and to train more than 9,000 eye health workers.

Hospital-based Consultants Perform Virtual Glaucoma Reviews PDF
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International News
Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A prototype informatics application for the remote collection of glaucoma patients' data to enable it to be viewed by specialists for diagnosis in another location has been developed by U.K.'s Moorfields Eye Hospital's OpenEyes team, Charing Systems and Black Pear software.

The pilot application - designed for use with iPads is seen as a way of enabling the running of virtual glaucoma clinics which potentially can save patients’ numerous and often inconvenient trips to hospital and free up glaucoma specialists time - was funded by a £75,000 award from NHS Connecting for Health‘s Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) Information Sharing Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Glaucoma is a chronic condition of the eye characterised by raised intraocular pressure, and progressive damage to the optic nerve. It is one of the major causes of visual loss in the UK and involves regular examinations for patients (typically every four to six months) to ensure that their treatment (usually eye drops) remains effective in preventing further loss of vision. Frequent visits to hospital for examinations can be very inconvenient for patients and also mean high workloads for glaucoma clinics in hospital.

The medical management of glaucoma is dependent on the monitoring of discrete and relatively small sets of clinical data, looking for changes over time and/or relative to individualised standards. For example, a patient may have a ‘target’ intraocular pressure, above which the risk of visual loss becomes much greater. Therefore, decision-making about treatment can in most cases be made based on the values of those measurements. This makes the running of remote clinics possible as data can be acquired by clinical staff that are not necessarily trained to make management decisions, with the decision-making made in ‘virtual clinics’ by consultants who are expert in the management of the condition.

The need for 'virtual clinics' has been clear for many years, but the technology required to deliver them has previously been lacking. There is a clear clinical need to develop an infrastructure to underpin the use of virtual clinics.

The prototype solution uses iPads in remote community clinics to enable a Black Pear app called iRIS to capture the metrics associated with glaucoma assessments. The patient data is then messaged using ITK from the iPad to the Moorfields’ OpenEyes patient record system, from where a specialist consultant can diagnose glaucoma. Working closely with Charing Systems, data was collected and stored through use of openEHR archetypes. The combination of ITK and use of openEHR archetypes has proven to be an effective method for collecting and transferring clinical data.

It is hoped to develop the prototype further and set up a series of virtual clinics making use of the tablet software in peripheral centres, with decision-making being carried out by experienced consultants at Moorfields City Road branch.

MIDO 2013: Modest Increase In Visitors PDF
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International News
Friday, 08 March 2013

MIDOThe 43rd MIDO (International Optical, Optometry and Ophthalmology Exhibition) ended this week after three busy days - from Saturday 2 to Monday 4 March - of networking, talking business, professional updating, and exposure and visibility for companies in the industry. Visitor statistics rewarded the efforts that had gone into attracting all the various players in the industry, with a 3% increase in visitors and with 60% of these arriving from about 40 different countries.

The next MIDO will be held from 1 till 3 March 2014 in Milan.

OGS Appoints Inaugural Chair of New Global Development Board PDF
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International News
Friday, 22 February 2013

J C AragonOptometry Giving Sight (OGS) has announced that Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon (picture), Senior Vice President, Americas Region for CooperVision, will be the inaugural Chair of the organisation's new Global Development Board (GDB). The Global Development Board has been created at the request of the Board to be a key driver of strategic growth and development in relation to fundraising.

"Dr. Aragon has a very strong commitment to, and understanding of, Optometry Giving Sight, both personally and professionally, and has more than 28 years experience working in the global optical industry," said CEO, Clive Miller. "His knowledge and passion for the development of Optometry and the elimination of refractive error blindness and impaired vision has already inspired colleagues around the world, and we think he will be an excellent Chair of the GDB".

Joining Dr. Aragon on the GDB will be: Claude Darnault – Chief Sustainability Officer, Essilor; Dr. Glenn Ellisor – CEO, Vision Source; Dr. Tony Hanks – Founder and Chairman, Eyecare Plus (Australia); Rob Lynch – CEO, VSP Global; Andrea Saia – Board member, Coca Cola Enterprises; Dr. Al Ulsifer – FYI Eye Doctors; Dr. Rick Weisbarth – VP Professional Affairs, Alcon.

"It's a great honor for me to take on this role and to be working with such an esteemed group of industry leaders," said Dr. Aragon. "I believe that there is so much more that we as an industry can do to ensure that all people have access to affordable eye and vision care. It's a win-win in my view – we promote the importance of good vision and an effective vision care industry, while helping millions of people around the world realize their potential by being able to see clearly."

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