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Glaucoma prevention initiative launched

Training will be provided to healthcare professionals in low and middle income countries

iCare device being used
Pharmaceutical company Allergan has launched the Keep Sight initiative in partnership with Sightsavers and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

The initiative is designed to prevent glaucoma-related vision loss by increasing access to healthcare in low and middle income countries.

Training will be provided to healthcare professionals in order to screen at-risk populations, ensure early and accurate diagnosis, deliver appropriate treatment and provide long-term care.

Executive vice president and president of international commercial at Allergan, Marc Princen, said: “For almost two decades, Allergan has been committed to developing novel approaches to preserve visual function and prevent blindness caused by glaucoma. Keep Sight is an initiative that will make a real difference to people with glaucoma in these under-served populations.”

The first programme will launch at a hospital in Nigeria with training provided to 50 healthcare professionals, who will screen 5000 people, 500 of which will receive treatment and 70 patients will receive surgery.

Allergan and its partners anticipate that the initiative will expand to screen 500,000 people in low and middle income countries by 2021 and beyond.

CEO of Sightsavers, Dr Caroline Harper, said: “The greatest global needs in eye health today exist in developing countries, where typical barriers include inadequate human resources, poor infrastructure, a lack of awareness and limited access to medical treatments.”

She added that the partnership is necessary to fight avoidable blindness and deliver better services to patients.

Director of development and communications at the IAPB, Joanna Conlon, said: “Glaucoma accounts for between 12% and 16% of blindness in high-income regions, central Asia, parts of Europe and Africa. Glaucoma in Africa is poised to be a significant public health burden in the coming decade. Keep Sight is the kind of solution we need today.”