The prevention campaign against retinal and optic nerve diseases has been resumed, after being halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 3 million people in Italy are at risk.
The national prevention campaign “Vista in Salute”, for the prevention of retinal and optic nerve disease, starts again in September with free eye checks in the Umbria region. Promoted by IAPB Italy and launched before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Lombardy, Abruzzo and Campania, the initiative will reach all of the Italian regions by 2023.
Inside the large outpatient facility provided by IAPB Italy – a 100 square metre hi-tech mobile clinic equipped with four labs and several workstations – people aged 40 and over will be able to undergo free eye examinations of the retina and optic nerve, to possibly diagnose the main causes of blindness in high-income countries: glaucoma, maculopathies and diabetic retinopathy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced access to eye care services for prevention purposes: eye examinations and hundreds of elective surgeries have been postponed or cancelled. In the meantime, sight impairing diseases – which can be asymptomatic in the early stages – have not decreased and are threatening 3 million people in Italy.
Eye checks are the most important form of prevention, and, not infrequently, the only measure to avoid the onset of eye disease. Suffice it to say that, in the regions already reached by the IAPB campaign, as much as 40% of patients showed potential or existing disease, of which they were completely unaware. The situation is also bound to get worse with the progressive aging of the population.
The “Vista in salute” campaign, conducted in partnership with Topcon, focuses on three main objectives: to spread awareness about the main eye diseases that cause visual impairment or blindness; to increase the level of priority given to eye health prevention in regional health agendas; to use collected data to implement a national database, aimed at assessing the impact of visual impairment and providing vital tools for the development of public health policies for the promotion of eye health. This year the prototype of a digital visor allowing for extremely precise examinations of all factors contributing to vision will also be tested.
The project has received the patronage of the Ministry of Health, the State-Region Conference, the National Health Institute, the National association of Italian municipalities (ANCI), the Umbria region, the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired, as well as the Interparliamentary Group for the Protection of Sight.
The dates for the events will be set in agreement with each region and in compliance with regulations. All scheduled events are listed on the following website: www.vistainsalute.it