Late diagnosis and unequal access to care currently hinder Italy’s eye care services. A “social manifesto” has been launched in collaboration with the Italian Health Policy Brief journal.
“Eye care within the national health system suffers from organisational deficiencies and a lack of resources. It is clear that vision problems are increasingly losing prominence among health policy decision-makers,” explains Prof. Filippo Cruciani, ophthalmologist and scientific advisor of IAPB Italy.
The individual and social damage deriving from this situation is serious. “The impact of diseases that cause low vision and blindness is growing with the aging of the population – Prof. Cruciani explains. Some of the most serious illnesses, such as glaucoma, AMD, and diabetes, can be successfully treated if diagnosed in time, although irreparable damage may be inflicted to sight even from the first asymptomatic stage. The same applies to emergency cases such as retinal detachment or acute glaucoma: the speed of response makes the difference between saving or losing sight. That is why resources allocated to eye exams and emergency eye care services should increase, rather than decrease. The cost, both in terms of suffering and low vision disability, is very high and could be avoided in many cases.”
For this reason, IAPB Italy contributed to building an alliance “For equal access to eye care”. The “social manifesto” was launched by the Italian Policy Brief (IHPB) journal, in collaboration with many other non-profit organisations, which operate in the field of eye disease and low vision. The manifesto aims to solicit new and more effective political initiatives that may strengthen the response of the healthcare system.