Come aiutare chi ha un deficit visivo: 5 semplici regole

Aiutare le persone con deficit visivo

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.

The “burden” of myopia


Preventing myopia is possible, at least partially, thanks to a healthier lifestyle and spending more time outdoors from childhood

visita-polo-occhialini-prova-1-web.jpgMore 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.

occhiali-montatura-freedigitalphotos_net-web-ok-photospipdcba350684f18e8e7ca91e7ceac8be57.jpgThe 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

Prize competition “Open your eyes!” returns in schools


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;

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

The “Caravan of Health” goes to Marche Region


In two Italian towns, San Benedetto del Tronto and San Severino, free check-ups were available for everyone

umo-fiori-web-400pixel.jpgThe “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.


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.


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. carovana_salute_san_benedetto_tronto-8_luglio_2018.jpg

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

Free eye examinations still available for first-timers


IAPB Italy, the Italian Society of Ophtalmology and “Insieme per la Vista” Foundation make eye examinations available for free to promote prevention

visita-oculistica-anziana-struttura-ospedaliera-2-photospip185b43b2a8aa0a434e26f13956e41f3a.jpgIf 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 il_dott._matteo_piovella_presidente_soi_-ritratto.jpg:

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)

Visual rehabilitation of patients with Stargardt’s disease


The National Centre and the Ophthalmology Clinic of A. Gemelli polyclinic have completed an in-depth analysis of the retina of visually impaired patients, also studying their reading abilities

foto_fondo_sovrapposizione_esami-web-ok.jpgConsider a disease such as Stargardt’s maculopathy. People who suffer from it have great difficulties in reading, are dazzled by sunlight and their visual abilities progressively weaken in their youth and over their working life, in particular, at the centre of the visual field. What can be done? Today, there is no known cure, as Stargardt’s maculopathy is a genetically transmitted retinal dystrophy, but patients can learn to make the most of their residual visual skills, regain self confidence and improve their quality of life. All this thanks to visual rehabilitation.


Fifteen people suffering from Stargardt’s disease were subjected to a complete eye examination and a series of diagnostic tests and procedures, such as OCT [Optical Coherence Tomography], fundus autofluorescence (FAF) and microperimetry, at the National Centre of Services and Research for the Prevention of Blindness and Visual Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired and in the Ophthalmology Clinic of the A. Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome.

Through their careful analysis, specialists identified a significant correlation between the magnification used, the reading speed and retinal sensitivity. The latter was fundamental to assess the residual vision of the patients involved in the study, who were 42.6 years old on average and had been affected by Stargardt’s disease for at least five years.

In their scientific paper published on the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, the ophthalmologists and orthoptists of the National Centre and of the A. Gemelli Polyclinic concluded that:

As a result of the overlapping of OCT/FAF imaging on microperimetric exam, residual activity of outer retinal layers passing through the eccentric fixation area seems to be related with required magnification and reading rate. Identification of morpho-functional parameters is helpful for designing a customized rehabilitative program.

Useful Link: Low Vision Centers in Italy

Main Source: Can. J. Ophtalmology

Let’s shed some light on vision rehabilitation



ipovedente_con_tablet-web-300pix.jpgSevere visual limitations affect, on average, 2.1% of the European Union population aged 15 years old and upwards, while from 65 years of age, the figure climbs to 5.6%, rising even further to 8.7% for those aged 75 and over. In Italy over one third of the elderly suffer from at least moderate visual limitations, equating to approximately 4.5 million people. This is stated in the Annual Report of the Italian Ministry of Health, which cites the latest ISTAT publication on “Health Conditions and recourse to health services in Italy and in the European Union.”

Despite this situation, visual in rehabilitation in Italy has taken off only in part. Access to rehabilitation services suffers, in general, from a “strong territorial inhomogeneity” riabilitazione_visiva_signora_ipovedente-chiaroscuro-web-small.jpg(as usual, the situation is better in the Centre-North of Italy). Approximately 60,000 people underwent a first visit without being rehabilitated (2016 data). The problem is not only the excessively high cancellation rate, but often rehabilitation centres are underfunded. Ideally they should be staffed with various professional figures – such as an ophthalmologist, an orthoptist, a psychologist and an instructor of orientation and mobility -, but too frequently this is not the case.

A multidisciplinary team is available, for example, at The National Centre of Services and Research for the Prevention of Blindness and Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired (at the A. Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome), which contributed to the Ministerial Report, where it is stated:

On the one hand, while the commitment of the IAPB for the refinancing of the budget chapter that law 284/97 assigns to the Regions for vision rehabilitation, didn’t bring the desired results, on the other hand the insertion of vision rehabilitation in the Essential Levels of Assistance, bodes well that the resulting resources may be greater and addressable to those people who actually perform the rehabilitation of the visually impaired in a given area.

Approximately in line with all the 28 States of the EU, in Italy, two people out of a hundred (aged 15 years old and upwards) suffer from serious visual limitations, a percentage that climbs to 5.4% among those who are aged 65 years and over and rises further to 8.6% for those who are at least 75 years old. The scenario becomes more worrying if moderate visual limitations are also added to the severe cases. In this event, from those who are 75 years of age and over, 43 people out of a hundred suffer from a degree of visual limitation. This figure stands at around one third of the population in those who are at least 65 years of age.

Sources: Ministero della Salute, Panorama della Sanità

Children increasingly short sighted in China


Myopia affects 20-30% of young students: increasing time spent outdoors may be a preventive strategy

prato-alunni-400pixels.jpgMyopia is on the rise among Chinese children: in a group of 4741 school children, the incidence of this refractive error was found to be between 20% to 30%. Even though myopia is rising worldwide, this growth has been particularly significant in China.

This study was conducted on a cohort of 19 primary schools (2010-2015) and on another group of 22 junior high schools (2010-2012): all schools were randomly chosen at rates proportional to the number of schools in each of the 11 districts of the city of bimbi_orientali-160pix-web.jpgGuangzhou.

The incidence of myopia among Chinese students […] is among the highest of any cultural or ethnic group”. This is what the group of Chinese-Australian university researchers stated in an article published on Jama Ophthalmology. The same researchers suggest the adoption of preventive strategies, such as increasing time spent on outdoor activities, also from childhood.