Con le misure di distanziamento è diventato molto più difficile per le persone con disabilità visiva orientarsi e, soprattutto, individuare gli altri come punto di riferimento per muoversi correttamente nell’ambiente esterno. Ecco allora cinque regole da seguire per aiutare le persone con deficit visivo nella quotidianità.
Si riparte. Mercoledì 3 giugno riaprono le visite ambulatoriali al Polo Nazionale Ipovisione e Riabilitazione visiva: un primo passo di ritorno alla normalità.
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On 11 June 2019 the Parliamentary Intergroup for Sight Prevention was presented in Rome at the Chamber of Deputies. Its objective is to bring eye health prevention to the heart of Italian health policies, with the ambitious goal of saving the sight of Italian citizens through good health-care practises
This initiative was promoted by a group of MPs in the wake of a number of awareness campaigns run by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness – IAPB Italy, which carried out a screening for retinal and optic nerve pathologies at the premises of Italy’s lower and upper chambers.
At least three million Italians are affected by eye diseases that compromise the retina and the optic nerve, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, each affecting about one million people.
Paolo Russo MP, President of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Sight Prevention, has stated that “prevention is an absolute necessity.” Dr. Marco Verolino, Head of Ophthalmics at the Ospedali Riuniti Area Vesuviana ASL Napoli 3 Sud, added that “today the best cure for problems of the visual system is still prevention.”
Amongst the speakers was also Mr. Giuseppe Castronovo, President of IAPB Italy, who stated: “Prevention is maybe the noblest word. […] If we are talking about the prevention of blindness, then it becomes a wonderful word, especially for me, since I lost my sight at the age of nine to a World War II shell. […] We always insist that people must go to an ophthalmologist for an examination. […] Prevention needs to be in place from birth and maybe, if possible, even before (from gestation).”
Prof. Filippo Cruciani, scientific advisor of IAPB Italy, explained that “researchers are committed on various fronts and they have produced some results, but we especially need to invest in prevention, both in primary and secondary terms. Primary prevention basically means lifestyle, while secondary prevention consists of early diagnosis, when diseases are still in the asymptomatic stage. Unfortunately prevention is still not widespread in Italy.
● Paolo Russo MP, President of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Sight Prevention (FI)
● Giuseppe Castronovo, President of IAPB Italy
● Guido De Martini MP, Member of the Social Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (Lega)
● Dr. Marco Verolino, Head of Ophthalmics at the Ospedali Riuniti Area Vesuviana ASL Napoli 3 Sud
● Prof. Filippo Cruciani, scientific advisor of IAPB Italy
In the African country projects for the prevention of blindness are in progress, from ophthalmological screenings to cataract surgery
There is a region in the north of the African State of Togo (Bassar area) where sight disorders are particularly widespread.
Precisely for this reason a mass screening was organized: the last stage took place from Monday 6 May to Friday 10 May 2019 by the association “Fon.T.Es-So.T.Es-Togo”.
This mass screening entails the carrying out a total of approximately 3,000 eye examinations on people suffering from eye diseases. At the time of writing, about 1,500 examinations have been performed and 500 pairs of glasses have been donated. Furthermore, out of about 120 surgical procedures have been scheduled.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy firmly believes in this project and actively supports it with a contribution.
These illnesses could easily be avoided by adopting simple preventive measures, but only less than a quarter of the rural population can be treated. The causes are varied and can mainly be linked to the lack of facilities and resources: the excessive cost of actually travelling to clinics and hospitals, unusable roads, the lack of ophthalmic centres, fear or distrust and the lack of information.
To compensate for these difficulties the association “Fon.T.Es-So.T.Es-Togo” has organized a mass screening that also includes cataract interventions.
In addition to cataracts, the project aims to prevent trachoma, vitamin A deficiency (xeroftalmia), pterygium and damage caused by glaucoma, in the rural populations.
OTHER INITIATIVES IN TOGO
Since 2015 IAPB Italy has collaborated with the aforementioned association – also supported by the Italian association, Gruppo San Francesco d’Assisi (St. Francesco of Assisi Group) – for the setting up of a medical-social centre, complete with ophthalmology and school integration services, in Lomé (Togo).
WE HELP THE AFRICAN COUNTRY
The boarding school, which houses a hundred pupils (nursery, intermediate and high school), is run entirely by Togolese personnel and offers an education to blind children, almost all of whom are from very poor families, who live in a vast area of the African country.
It is, in fact, the only structure existing in that huge region, designated to blind children who unfortunately, due to the precarious hygiene and health conditions, represent a significant part of the child population. Overall it is a small reality that operates with scarce resources in a context in which the problems relating to blindness are devastating and where the fundamental tools for prophylaxis are lacking.
A PROJECT THAT LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
The IAPB Italy (our non-profit organization) decided to collaborate on the setting up of a medical-social centre connected to the school facility, by firstly providing financial aid and then by contributing to the organization and structuring of the centre itself.
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy – www.iapb.it
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Preventing myopia is possible, at least partially, thanks to a healthier lifestyle and spending more time outdoors from childhood
More than 1.4 billion people in the world are short-sighted and their numbers seem destined to increase: half of the world’s population is likely to become short-sighted by 2050 [precisely 48%, equal to 4.76 billion inhabitants]]. These are the numbers quoted by Ophthalmology in its [editorial of March 2018. It is estimated that today, approximately one third (33.6%) of Europeans aged 50 to 54 years are affected by myopia.
Can something be done to prevent myopia or at least slow down its progression? The answer is: yes. In fact, excluding genetic factors, we can work on improving lifestyles: “There is strong evidence that greater time spent outdoors is associated with a lower incidence of myopia”.
It is also necessary to promote “exercise, fitness, reduced screen time, and weight control”. In short, more open air and less pixels… Such a lifestyle should be followed from childhood, as exposure to natural light helps prevent the excessive lengthening of the eyeball.
The authors of the article – all Americans [[medical researchers working in California (Eye Monitoring Center), in Boston (Harvard Medical School and Department of Ophthalmology) and in Maryland (National Eye Institute)]] – write that the risks of major complications incurred by people with high myopia, range from retinal detachment to glaucoma, and include cataracts, choroidal neovascularization, optic neuritis, staphyloma and myopic macular degeneration.
Read also: “Giovani meno miopi all’aria aperta” (Young less myopic in the open air)
Main Source: Ophthalmology
The main protagonists are teachers, students of primary schools and their families. Registration is already open: the deadline is 30th April 2019
The prevention campaign “Open Your Eyes!” (“Apri gli Occhi!” in Italian) is now available in schools in a digital format, in order to “enlighten” pupils, teachers and parents about eye care and the importance of sight.
In the 2018-2019 school year, the campaign is based on an innovative formula once again: everything takes place on a multimedia platform geared mainly towards teachers, as in the previous school year. The objective is to help protect eye health through teaching.
Families and students of primary schools and those in the last year of nursery schools can request that teachers adopt the project. The new deadline for the “Trivia” prize competition is 30th April 2019. [[Participants can register immediately and classes can play until 30th April 2019. Each registered class will have the opportunity to play 3 times (10 questions each time). At the end of the competition, the system will automatically take into consideration only the best performances (highest number of correct answers, in the shortest time); in this way, children will feel encouraged to do their best. The online challenge must always be mediated by the teacher]]
The inter-school competition will take place among the classes that have participated in the game-based training (10 questions each time out of a total of a hundred, in order to effectively simulate the final online challenge), a new version of which was released on 8th November 2018. In the final phase, classes will have to answer ten randomly selected multiple choice questions among those that had been proposed during the training.
The initiative, which has been conceived by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy, is managed by CivicaMente: it is aimed primarily at children aged 5 to 11 years old, so as to teach them about prevention of vision disorders in an enjoyable way. Thanks to the “Apri gli Occhi!” campaign, you can download the educational multimedia and read additional in-depth informative materials, which are useful for school lessons.
The teaching tools, which are free of charge, that are available to teachers and their classes are, in particular, the following:
- the DIGITAL cartoon lesson;
- the MULTIMEDIA TRAINING QUIZ;
- the TRIVIA QUIZ PRIZE COMPETITION.
By visiting the Italian competition’s website, teachers can download the material and register their accounts. Children will then have until 30th April 2019 to prepare for the challenge and try to win the prize: a supply of school materials, which is worth 250 euros.
In conclusion, the prevention of visual impairment can be “switched on” through educational and fun activities. You can ask any teacher to take part in the “Apri gli Occhi!” campaign.
Useful links: Concorso Trivia
In two Italian towns, San Benedetto del Tronto and San Severino, free check-ups were available for everyone
The “Caravan of Health” – consisting of several Mobile Ophthalmology Units – has concluded its Marche appointments, providing free eye examinations on board the hi-tech campervans of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy. The examinations took place in San Benedetto del Tronto on 8th July and in San Severino on 9th July 2018.
THE MARCHE TOUR
Thanks to the various associations and doctors that participated in the initiative – a collaboration between IAPB Italy, Susan G. Komen Italy, the A. Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital Foundation, the Red Cross and Amplifon – it was possible to receive not only an eye examination, but also a mammography, a clinical breast examination and an ultrasound scan. Auditory checks were also available in San Benedetto. In total, over 600 free examinations were carried out at the two events.
KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR LIFESTYLE – IT ALSO HELPS SIGHT
The campaign was presented on 2nd July at the City Hall of St. Benedetto del Tronto and was promoted by the Federazione Nazionale Pensionati (FNP-CISL), one of Italy’s retired workers’ unions.
In addition to local authorities, Michele Corcio (Vice-president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy) and Mario Canale (General Secretary of FNP Marche) also participated in the event.[[Coordinated by Maria Trentin, National Women’s Coordination of FNP-CISL and concluded by Loreno Coli, Assistant General Secretary of the National FNP-CISL]]
Mr. Corcio said on that occasion:
Our individual behavior also determines the onset or progress of certain pathologies. Therefore public institutions must invest in more and better prevention campaigns, because in doing so, significant savings on public spending can be achieved. […] Citizens are advised to obtain scientifically correct information. [[For example, by contacting the toll free number 800-068506 (an ophthalmologist will answer) active from Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.]] […] We must pay attention to diabetic retinopathy, as it is linked to our diet, our lifestyle.
Giulio Grazioli, Regional Secretary of FNP-CISL Marche, observed at the conclusion of the presentation that:
The high turnout of people for this initiative shows the importance of health and prevention. A theme that has always been a priority for us, and one to which we will continue to stay committed through the implementation of local policies, with the aim of raising awareness in people of all ages, especially in pensioners, in order to convince them of the need to take care of themselves.
The screenings carried out during the “Caravan of Health” did not only represent a message to promote the culture of prevention: from some examinations, symptoms have emerged, such as the identification of nodules, which require further close study and are concrete evidence of the importance of taking care of and monitoring our own health.
Source: CISL Pensioners
IAPB Italy, the Italian Society of Ophtalmology and “Insieme per la Vista” Foundation make eye examinations available for free to promote prevention
If you have not already done so, arrange an eye examination as soon as possible because you are still entitled to it. You can make a free appointment at one of the many specialists participating in the campaign that was launched on the occasion of World Sight Day, on 11th October, 2018 (click here to the website in Italian).
In fact, this autumn – thanks to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy, the Italian Society of Ophthalmology (SOI) and “Insieme per la Vista” Foundation – the prevention campaign continues for those who have never been to an ophthalmologist.
The President of SOI, Dr. Matteo Piovella, has explained :
This project [[Promoted by SOI, IAPB Italy and “Insieme per la Vista” Foundation.]] aims to save sight, an asset that many start to appreciate only when they are losing it … Regardless of anyone’s condition, by 2050 the number of blind or partially sighted people will increase threefold. Our country is struggling… What we are talking about [[Namely the right to health: “The Republic protects health as a fundamental right of the individual and the interest of the community, and guarantees free care to those with low income” (Article 32 of the Italian Constitution, first paragraph).]] is a constitutional right … The first collective responsibility is to give correct information. Prevention and treatment, in ophthalmology, are the same thing. We must change our mentality: we must make mothers understand that a child should always be taken to have an eye examination.
From an early age, people are entitled to receive a periodic full eye examination (including dilation of the pupil to check the fundus of the eye). Take action by booking a free examination now! It’s important.
From an early age, people are entitled to receive a periodic full eye examination (including dilation of the pupil to check the fundus of the eye). Take action by booking a free examination now! It’s important.
Useful link: International World Sight Day Page (2018)