2016 Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives
The 2016 “Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives” Event Was Officially Launched with the Kick-off of the “World Glaucoma Week in Taiwan”
The 2016 “Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives” eye-care campaign was officially launched, and the 2016 “World Glaucoma Week” unveiled at the same time! In response to the theme of this year’s glaucoma awareness week “BIG-Beat Invisible Glaucoma,” Alcon Pharmaceutical Ltd., Taiwan Branch, the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan, Taiwan Glaucoma Association, Taiwan Association for the Blind, and Taiwan Care for All Association, all participated in this international campaign to promote the concept of “early diagnosis and early treatment” in order to call for the public’s attention to learn the importance of this issue.
Reduce the Impact of Blindness and Eye Diseases
The “World Glaucoma Day” was initiated in 2008 together by the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association to promote glaucoma awareness internationally. The “World Glaucoma Week” is set to be on the second week of March for each year. The “World Glaucoma Week” for this year is scheduled to be on the 6th to the 12th of March.
Dr. Lin-Chung Woung, President of The Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan stated that glaucoma is referred to as the silent thief of sight. The condition is usually serious when the visual problem is detected. However, regular visual test, including important items such as intraocular pressure, optic nerves, and visual field, are one of many preventive measures. The Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan has been teamed with Alcon Taiwan to promote visual test since 2005. Regular eye check-up is not only the key to the prevention of glaucoma, but also the common rule for all visual illnesses.
Dr. Da-wen Lu, Chairman of The Taiwan Glaucoma Association, pointed out that it is difficult for one to imagine life with glaucoma without experiencing the disease. Although there are frequent media exposures on glaucoma, the public is still not clear about the condition; furthermore, the signs at the early stage of glaucoma are inconspicuous. From asymptomatic, slight discomfort, halo around the light bulb, swelling and pain of the eyes, headache and vomiting, to severe visual impairment, the patients may lose 40% of their visual field already; especially that glaucoma is irreversible, and the visual acuity can only be maintained as is at best. Therefore, early diagnosis and early treatment are very crucial.
Postmenopausal Women are at High-Risk for Glaucoma
Dr. Lu stressed that “postmenopausal women” are one of the high-risk groups for glaucoma. The reduction in the secretion of estrogen is thought to be the cause of secretion leading to women in this population being more than likely to have open- or closed-angle glaucoma. Dr. Lu also stated that the ratio of patients having closed-angle glaucoma is higher than that of Western society. Since the diameter of the eyeball for women over the age of 55 years, with body height of less than 160 cm and having positive 1.0 to 3.0 diopters is shorter, chances the women in this population having “closed-angle glaucoma” is increased.
Increasing Number of Younger Glaucoma Patients
Other than postmenopausal women, the physicians also worry about the recent decreasing trend on the age of glaucoma patients. According to the statistics from the 2014 Bureau of National Health Insurance statistics, there are approximately 320,000 glaucoma patients being treated in- and out-patient clinics in Taiwan. One in every 4 glaucoma patients is non-elderly person between the ages of 10 to 49 years old. Dr. Lu pointed out that advances in screening technique allows early detection of glaucoma, but using electronic devices in dark environment, high myopia, and over-use of the eyes are rising causes of glaucoma in younger ages.
Both Dr. Woung and Dr. Lu emphasized that there are approximately 60 million glaucoma patients over the world, among which, 9 million have lost their eyesight. There are 320,000 patients being treated for glaucoma in Taiwan in the past 10 years and the number of patients has increased by 72%. Many patients do not realize that their visual field is damaged until the time of consultation. Therefore, the risk of glaucoma can only be reduced through health education and prevention.
Glaucoma is an important issue in the global prevention of blindness. Everyone should take part in the eye-care awareness through scheduled eye check-up and intraocular measurements, all of us can prevent this silent thief of sight, the second leading cause of blindness globally next to cataract.
World Glaucoma Week in Taiwan, the public forum for “Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives” Starts on March 12
In order to call the public’s attention to understanding glaucoma and other eye diseases, a public forum on “World Glaucoma Week in Taiwan” is being held on Saturday afternoon, March 12, at New Taipei City Library Jiangzicui Branch. This is also the initiation of 2016 “Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives” event organized by Alcon Taiwan, the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan, Taiwan Glaucoma Association, Taiwan Association for the Blind, and Taiwan Care for All Association.
The subject covered in the forum included glaucoma, cataract, and dry eye. Over 200 people attended the lively and comprehensive talk given by Dr. Da-wen Lu, Dr. Tzu-Lun Huang and Dr. Chi-Chin Hsun, learning more about eye diseases. Free IOP checks were also provided on site so the public to stress the importance of intraocular pressure measurements on the prevention of glaucoma.
Figure 1. Dr. Lin-Chung Woung, President of The Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan, Dr. Da-wen Lu, Chairman of The Taiwan Glaucoma Association, and Alcon Taiwan representatives initiated the “World Glaucoma Week” in Taiwan to take on the silent thief of sight.
Figure 2. Relevant news in the media on glaucoma to call people’s awareness in this disease.
Figure 3. Overwhelming number of participants at the public forum on “World Glaucoma Week”. This was also initiated the 2016 “Enhancing Sight, Enhancing Lives” eye-care campaign.
Figure 4. Free IPO check was given to the public, to help to establish the good habit of having regular eye check-up.