Major sight loss conference for Dublin

Chance for public to hear about latest advances
  • Deborah Condon

People with sight loss conditions will have the opportunity to hear about the latest advances being made in this area, and to ask questions to some of the world's foremost experts, as part of a major conference taking place in Dublin.

Retina 2019 is a three-day gathering of researchers and clinicians from all over the world. As part of this event, a public engagement day will take place on November 16, which will allow members of the public to hear about the latest advances in this field.

The event, which has been organised by Fighting Blindness, will be of interest to anyone living with sight loss. As well as focusing on common conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy, it will also focus on rare conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa.

The opening address will be made by actress and Fighting Blindness ambassador, Victoria Smurfit, whose daughter, Evie, has Startgardt disease, which is a rare genetic form of retinal degeneration that causes a progressive loss of sight.

"Retina 2019 is a pretty special opportunity for people with sight loss to be able to hear the latest developments on advances being made to improve and ultimately cure various types of sight loss.

"But perhaps equally special is the opportunity for some of the world's leading researchers and clinicians who have come to Dublin, to be able to gain insights firsthand from people with rare conditions on the challenges they face," explained Fighting Blindness CEO, Kevin Whelan.

The public engagement day will take place all day on November 16 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8. For more information, or to register, click here.

An estimated 246,000 people in Ireland are blind or visually impaired. However, around three-quarters of all sight loss cases are preventable. Fighting Blindness offers the following tips to better safeguard your children's eyesight:

-Spend time in the great outdoors. Research suggests that time spent playing outside contributes to a decrease in the risk of short-sightedness
-Don't leave children to their own devices. Teach them to hold a smartphone or tablet at arm's length from their eyes and encourage them to look away from the screen every few minutes
-You are what you eat. It is not just carrots that are good for children's eyesight. Oranges, oily fish, peppers, eggs, dairy and nuts have some of the biggest health benefits for eyes. If your child has been diagnosed with a retinal disease, make sure to check with your doctor first about the diet most appropriate for them
-Sun's up! It is vital that children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. Children's eyes are more vulnerable to sun damage due to their larger pupils and clearer lenses
-Put them to the test. Ensure that your child has their first eye test from a qualified optician by the age of three years, and every year after that until they are 16 years old
-Safety first. Physical activity and sport are important for children, but make sure they use safety eye wear that is appropriate for their sport to protect against eye injury
-Be on the lookout. If you notice an inward or outward turning in a child's eyes, delays in tracking moving objects, squinting or holding material close to their face, speak to your GP or optician. Many conditions can be treated more effectively once picked up early.


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