The Eye of the Mind, experts gather in Rome


A conference on sight prevention and vision rehabilitation for ophthalmologists and orthoptists was held in Rome between 23-24 November 2018

da_sx_i_proff._filippo_cruciani_alessandro_lambiase_e_claudio_cassinelli_con_l_avv._giuseppe_castronovo-roma_23_novembre_lr.jpg“The Eye of the Mind” is the title of the Conference on vision rehabilitation that was held on 23rd November, 2018, at the George Eastman Dental Hospital in Viale Regina Elena 287, Rome. The meeting continued on the following day at the Ophthalmology Clinic of the Umberto I Polyclinic Hospital.

The first day was dedicated, in particular, to neuro-ophthalmological issues in children and adults (including brain plasticity), while presentations on the second day focused more on technical-rehabilitative aspects, and on the protocols (rehabilitation procedures) and the assessment of vision disabilities.

The experts who were invited to speak hailed from numerous institutions, such as the A. Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital in Rome, the National Centre for Vision Rehabilitation, the Sapienza University of Rome, the David Chiossone Institute in Genoa, the Gaslini Hospital, the World Health Organization, the Pavia Eye Clinic, etc.

Mr. Giuseppe Castronovo, President of IAPB Italy, opened the event on 23rd November, together with Prof. F. Cruciani, Prof. A. Lambiase (Sapienza University) and the President of the Chiossone Institute, Prof. C. Cassinelli. In his speech, Mr. Castronovo said:

Sight and rehabilitation are two wonderful words. Sight gives us freedom and autonomy: we must do everything we can to avoid young people, adults and the elderly losing it.

In a subsequent working session, Dr. Simona Turco – an ophthalmologist who works at the National Centre founded by IAPB Italy at the A. Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital – presented a home-based vision rehabilitation program (Eye Fitness) that was developed by the National Centre, which uses an innovative IT platform.

On 24th November, the case studies of a number of adults and visually impaired children who had followed a vision rehabilitation path, in particular at the National Centre, were also presented at the Aula Magna of the Ophthalmology Clinic of the Sapienza University.

The training course was free of charge and catered primarily to doctors and orthoptists [Participants were awarded 15 CME credits]. It was organized by the Chiossone Institute – its 150th anniversary is celebrated this year – in collaboration with the National Centre.

Read the program

National Centre, collaboration with the WHO renewed


The agreement is valid until May 2020: from visual rehabilitation to prevention, to psychological assistance to the visually impaired

polo-riabilitazione-visiva-touch-lg.jpgIt is a one of a kind World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in the field of blindness prevention and visual rehabilitation. We’re talking about the National Centre, which has just renewed an agreement with the WHO for a further three years (until May 1, 2020).

What is our National Centre

The National Centre of Services and Research for the Prevention of Blindness and Vision Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired – which is based at the A. Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital in Rome – works with people who are affected by a significant reduction in vision: thanks to vision rehabilitation, they can improve their quality of life. The National Centre can count on a multidisciplinary team, consisting of various professionals, such as ophthalmologists, orthoptists, psychologists, orientation and mobility instructors, etc. (Read more) ipovedente-riabilitazione-visiva-web-okimg_1550-photospip9a090323c29d669c2795c716f0e8f973.jpg

More psychology and rehabilitation for the visually impaired

The visually impaired are generally trained to make the most of their residual vision and receive psychological support too. [[thanks to a holistic approach that considers the person as a whole, following scientifically validated procedures]]. Once rehabilitation has started [[reading exercises, use of paracentral vision in case of maculopathy, etc.]], in some cases patients can continue their training at home on their computer. This is known as home telerehabilitation, which the National Centre has developed thanks to the dedicated work of several specialists.

The new objectives of the WHO Collaborating Centre also include a new version of an international psychological questionnaire. In essence, those who go to an accredited centre for visual impairment and rehabilitation can receive, in the future, a possible diagnosis of depression/anxiety related to a significant reduction in vision. In this case rehabilitative therapies can be “modeled” on the psychological state of the patient.

The National Centre is a state-of-the-art hypovision centre founded and managed by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy. Opened at the end of 2007, it has been operating since 2008. It became a WHO Collaborating Centre in 2013.

Sources: WHO, IAPB

Vision rehabilitation, a worldwide overview



consensus_conference-esperti-foto-gruppo-web-ok2.jpgMore ophthalmological data, more collaboration between professionals, integrated rehabilitative paths to teach visually impaired people to see better. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy and WHO have joined together to identify common standards for vision rehabilitation worldwide.

Even though today there are no internationally shared standards, specific steps are being taken towards this aim.

These issues were addressed in Rome – from 12th to 15th December 2015 – thanks to an International Conference promoted by the WHO and coordinated by the National Centre of Services and Research for the Prevention of Blindness and Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired [[founded by IAPB Italy at the A. Gemelli Hospital in Rome, a WHO Collaborating Centre]], which saw experts from around the world participate in a four-day meeting, including ophthalmologists, epidemiologists, WHO regional managers, etc.

A Report was finally published that details the contents of this Consensus Conference in 2017. The Report reads:

This document is the outcome of a consultative process to elaborate international standards on vision rehabilitation. The process, which began in 2014, culminated in the International Consensus Conference on Vision rehabilitation […].

Among other things it reminds us that:

● a visually impaired person should follow a multidisciplinary rehabilitative path that is focused on the person, not merely on clinical aspects;
● vision rehabilitation should be commensurate to individual objectives and any risks that are to be assumed;
● it is necessary to have better collaboration and cooperation, as well as good communication, among all the professionals involved in the rehabilitative path;
● the lack of data at national level on the requirements related to vision rehabilitation demands the collection of new data to identify the needs of the population and ascertain whether these needs are being satisfied.

Report of Consensus Conference 2015

Main sources: WHO, IAPB

Visual rehabilitation of patients with Stargardt’s disease


The National Centre and the Ophthalmology Clinic of A. Gemelli polyclinic have completed an in-depth analysis of the retina of visually impaired patients, also studying their reading abilities

foto_fondo_sovrapposizione_esami-web.jpgConsider a disease such as Stargardt’s maculopathy. People who suffer from it have great difficulties in reading, are dazzled by sunlight and their visual abilities progressively weaken in their youth and over their working life, in particular, at the centre of the visual field.

What can be done? Today, there is no known cure, as Stargardt’s maculopathy is a genetically transmitted retinal dystrophy, but patients can learn to make the most of their residual visual skills, regain self confidence and improve their quality of life. All this thanks to visual rehabilitation.

(Read all…)