Today is World Sight Day

IAPB Italy, “Seizing the opportunity of free eye examinations”. A conference on sight and environmental pollution at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers

“GUARDA CHE È IMPORTANTE! Inquinamento ambientale e salute visiva” (“Look, it is important! Environmental pollution and eye health) is the title of the conference organized by IAPB Italy on World Sight Day. The event was held this morning, Thursday 10 October, at the Multifuncional Hall of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers starting at 10 a.m.

The central message was the importance of being examined by a specialist in ophthalmology for an early diagnosis of diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, which, if treated in time, can be cured, but if not, can lead to blindness. These illnesses will also become more widespread as the average age of the population increases.

GUARDA CHE IMPORTANTE! (Look, it’s important!) is the appeal addressed to people to take advantage of free eye examinations. 

The Italian Society of Ophthalmology (SOI) has supported IAPB Italy and Italian ophthalmologists have made 30,000 eye examinations available across Italy to people who have never been to a specialist before. You just need to visit the website www.giornatamondialedellavista.it and book an appointment directly with the closest ophthalmologist to you featured on the map. In September 2019 the prevention campaign for retinal and optic nerve diseases was also launched. An IAPB mobile diagnostic unit and other high-tech tools will reach the main urban centres of every Italian region from now until 2021. 

Mr. Giuseppe Castronovo, President of IAPB Italy, dreams of “living in a world without people suffering from blindness or visual impairment and such a dream will only be realised through one course of action: prevention. IAPB Italy has done a great deal to raise people’s awareness and will keep on doing so. Our sight is too precious a gift to take for granted. We need to take care of it, and undergo regular check-ups before experiencing any symptoms”.

Dr. Matteo Piovella, President of SOI, echoed him at the conference by saying that “every year more than 7,000 ophthalmologists save the sight of 1,700,000 people.” Such figures highlight the excellence of ophthalmology in Italy but also at the fragility of our sight and the constant need to take care of our eye health. “The eye – added Mr. Piovella – is our weakest organ and at 40 years of age, it is old. This is an important topic that affects everybody. We need to keep talking about it by stressing that sight problems are not just a memory from the past. On the contrary, blindness will be on the rise if people don’t accept responsibility for taking care of their eyes.”

Two panel discussions closed the event: “Environmental pollution and its effects on general health and eye health” and “Protecting sight in a polluted environment”. Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Health, WHO experts, researchers from the Italian Institute of Health and many authoritative ophthalmologists and specialists in occupational medicine from various Italian universities attended them.