On November 29th, 2018 two symposia of the National Centre and IAPB Italy have been held at the 98th Congress of the Italian Society of Ophthalmology
From neuroplasticity to neurostimulation, including vision rehabilitation at home and the progress of patients who have received a retinal prosthesis implant (the so-called “bionic eye” or, more accurately, the artificial retina). These are the main topics that were addressed during the Symposium of the National Centre – it took place in Rome on 29th November, 2018 – as part of the 98th Congress of the Italian Society of Ophthalmology. [[From 28th November to 1st December, 2018. The 150th anniversary of SOI will be celebrated in 2019.]]
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy also hosted its own conference, a symposium concerning the appearance of the visually impaired: prosthetic strategy and surgery (eye socket, plastic surgery and diseases of the ocular adnexa). We discussed the prescription of ocular prosthesis as well as the psychological aspects of aesthetic damage at ocular level.
The President of IAPB Italy, Mr. Giuseppe Castronovo, opened the proceedings, starting from his own experience and stated that “ocular prostheses are crucial, also for a person’s social life”.
He was followed by the Vice President, Mr. Michele Corcio, who briefly outlined the history of the blind and said that “in the ’70s and’ 80s the need was felt to publicly show blindness” in a period of political, social and cultural protest. This time of “realism” with regard to disability (that is to say, showing it in an unfiltered way), was followed by a “period of concealment of blindness” (when dark glasses were worn even indoors). Yet, Corcio observed:
There is a middle way between a “raw” and “violent” exposure of blindness and its concealment. The ocular prosthesis is important: we must neither hide nor exhibit our disability, but be ourselves.
Dr. Stefania Fortini, psychologist and Deputy Director of the National Centre highlighted that…
the psychological aspect considerably affects social acceptance and, therefore, quality of life. […] We must never fail to evaluate the physical and emotional well-being of patients, in order to determine the ones who need further support.
At the end of her speech, Dr. Fortini said that “ophthalmologists are not fully aware of the physical and emotional problems faced by patients who are suffering from ocular aesthetic damage”.
Within the broad framework of the SOI congress – mainly geared towards ophthalmologists and other professionals in the sector – not only conferences, but also workshops, verbal communications and posters were featured. Traditional themes of ophthalmology were addressed, along with cutting edge innovative themes. It was also possible to watch a live surgery, as usual.
It was an opportunity for discussion and further training on major themes, such as cataracts, the cornea and the ocular surface, eye tumors, glaucoma, uveitis, neuro-ophthalmology, refraction, medical and surgical retina, refractive surgery [[laser surgery for the correction of refractive errors, such as myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism]] and diagnostic procedures. Four intense days, involving complex organization, which was able to offer the widest and most extraordinary choice of scientific topics to every participant.
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN IAPB ITALY AND SOI
Prevention activities have been further reinforced thanks to the close collaboration between IAPB Italy, SOI and the Insieme per la Vista Foundation. Together they continue to offer free eye exams to people who have never had their eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (the initiative was launched on World Sight Day, which was celebrated on 11th October, 2018.) The campaign, based on comprehensive eye exams, has been dubbed “Save Sight” and was further promoted during the SOI congress, with more ophthalmologists signing-up to it.
Reference source: SOI