The National Campaign for the Prevention of Retinal and Optic Nerve Diseases Vista in Salute (www.vistainsalute.it), which had suffered a break due to the pandemic, restarts today and tomorrow from Perugia and then in the following days from Terni. Today and tomorrow, in fact, in Piazza IV novembre in Perugia and then on 4 and 5 September in Piazza della Repubblica in Terni, from 10 to 18, a hi-tech truck will carry out free eye checks on the retina and optic nerve, reserved for people of over 40 years of age, equipped with a green pass or buffer within the previous 48 hours. By 2023, the Campaign, promoted by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italia Onlus, will touch all Italian regions, after having affected Lombardy, Abruzzo and Campania in 2019.
Eye diseases of over 70s
Glaucoma (considered the first cause of irreversible blindness in the world), diabetic retinopathy and maculopathies represent a set of diseases that, overall, affect over 3 million Italians and 400 million people in the world. And the data are destined to increase further due to the progressive aging of the population, outlining a worrying scenario with regard to the quality of life of Italians and the sustainability of healthcare spending. For this reason, initiatives such as the Iapb prevention campaign are fundamental for combating diseases of the retina and optic nerve: “Modern eye technology – highlighted Carlo Cagini, director of the School of Specialization in Ophthalmology of the University of Perugia – allows to make an early diagnosis of the disease, but at the same time it is necessary to create the conditions for the patient to have immediate access to therapy. This means reducing waiting lists, creating regional reference networks and resorting to telemedicine where possible ”.
Technology at the service of prevention
Eye checks are free and non-invasive. A route is planned inside a mobile structure of about 100 square meters: an entire truck specially equipped with high-tech diagnostic medical devices. The planned eye exams are aimed at the early identification of the main diseases of the retina and the optic nerve. It starts with an anonymous questionnaire to assess lifestyle and the presence of any past or present illnesses. Then we move on to the actual diagnostic tests (which are not intended as a substitute for a complete eye examination), performing specific tests including optical coherence tomography (Oct), a sort of retinal CT scan that allows you to view the different layers retinal, noting the presence of any pathologies, in particular macular degenerations. Furthermore, thanks to a photo of the ocular fundus, it is possible to notice any alterations of the retinal vessels and changes to the head of the optic nerve that could be a sign of glaucoma. During the campaign, a prototype of digital technology viewer will also be tested, developed by IAPB Italia onlus in collaboration with research centers and universities, which allows an extremely precise evaluation of all the factors that contribute to vision, including monocular field of view. , stereoscopy, heterophoria, contrast sensitivity, chromatic sense, action of the monocular macular function, Hess scheme.
The other exams
Among the other tests carried out on the Tir there is also the auto refractometer, an instrument with which a visual defect is automatically measured, that is a refractive defect such as myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia. The tonometer, on the other hand, allows the measurement of ocular pressure, which indicatively must be between 10 and 20 mm of mercury, but it is also necessary to take into account the thickness of the cornea which is measured with the pachymeter.
Towards a national database
The Iapb initiative was made possible thanks to the support of the Italian Parliament which, with the 2019 budget law, by making available a three-year allocation, wanted to give an incisive response to the great need for visual prevention present in the population. The project received the patronage of the Ministry of Health, the State-Regions Conference, the Higher Institute of Health, the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), the Umbria Region, the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired, as well as of the Parliamentary Intergroup for the Protection of Eyesight. The campaign, which also makes use of the technological partnership of the Topcon company, has three fundamental objectives: to raise awareness of the main eye diseases that cause blindness and low vision in the population; increase the priority level of ophthalmic prevention in regional health agendas and use the data collected to create a national database, aimed at knowing the impact of pathologies and indispensable for the development of public health policies for the protection of sight.
From Umbria to Tuscany
After the two Umbrians, the next stage will involve the Tuscany Region with Florence on 7-8 September, Arezzo on 9-10 and then Siena on 11-12 September. For more information on the stages of the campaign, visit the website www.vistainsalute.it