Glaucoma: what you need to know

This article marks the beginning of a new partnership for the dissemination of news on eye health prevention between IAPB Italy and Pazienti.it.

The Italian medical news website Pazienti.it interviewed Prof. Gianluca Manni (ophthalmologist and Head of the Glaucoma Centre at the Polyclinic Hospital of the University of Rome Tor Vergata) on glaucoma and how to become aware of it.

This is the first in a series of articles that will stem from the new partnership between the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy, and Pazienti.it. IAPB Italy will provide and assess medical scientific content while working side by side with Pazienti.it to improve the dissemination of news that help raise public awareness and promote health prevention.

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First data of the IAPB Italy’s campaign now available: 40 percent unaware of being at risk

The results of the first 555 recorded check-ups were presented at the Chamber of Deputies. IAPB Italy’s large mobile clinic has reached nine cities and checked 1,800 people in two months and will cover the whole of Italy between 2020 and 2021. The aim of this initiative is to promote a healthcare model centered on prevention and early diagnosis, which employs telemedicine, builds a national database and raises awareness among citizens and institutions on the risk of eye diseases that can cause low vision and blindness.

Today, Tuesday 17 December 2019, a conference was held to discuss the preliminary results of the retinal and optic nerve disease prevention campaign run by IAPB Italy.

The conference took place at the Press Office of the Chamber of Deputies and was attended by Mr. Giuseppe Castronovo, President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy; Prof. Filippo Cruciani, scientific advisor to IAPB Italy; and Paolo Russo MP, ophthalmologist and President of the Interparliamentary Group for the Protection of Sight.

Funded by the 2019 Budget Law, the campaign delivered 1,800 free eye examinations in two months. The check-ups were performed inside a 100sqm mobile clinic that has reached nine Italian cities so far and which will travel across the whole of the country between 2020 and 2021.

The analysis of the first 555 medical reports carried out remotely by tele-diagnostics showed that 40% of the subjects were affected by a full-blown disease, presented early pathological symptoms or displayed warning signs that required further examination.

“These data derive from a random and unstructured sample – Mr. Castronovo and Prof. Cruciani explained. However they represent well the level of risk and the unquestionable importance of early diagnosis.”

Retinal and optic nerve diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are asymptomatic in the early stages. For this reason, only early diagnosis can prevent the onset of silent but irreparable damage to the eye nerve cells, on which our vision depends.

The aim of IAPB Italy’s initiative is not just to provide an opportunity for people to undergo an eye examination. Its true and ambitious objective is to promote a new diagnostic model for Italy’s regions, which is focused on prevention and early diagnosis. IAPB Italy intends to build such a model by raising awareness among citizens and institutions on the increased risk of blindness (due to aging) and capitalizing on the experience with tele-diagnostics during its campaign, in order to create a national database for retinal and optic nerve diseases.

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