Industry representatives support mission for glaucoma detection, treatment

Manufacturers of glaucoma medications and devices in the United States and abroad did their part on World Glaucoma Day to spread the word about the critical nature of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment with screenings and educational programming.

Washington, DC-Manufacturers of glaucoma medications and devices in the United States and abroad did their part on World Glaucoma Day (WGD) to spread the word about the critical nature of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment with screenings and educational programming.

Pfizer Ophthalmics has partnered with WGD organizers to develop a fact sheet and template news article for distribution around the globe. In addition, a "satellite media tour" lets broadcast news organizations from the United States to interview Jack Cioffi, MD, director of the Glaucoma Service, and director of the Discoveries in Sight research unit at Devers Eye Institute for Legacy Health System, Portland, OR, and Joseph Lovett, a documentary producer and patient with glaucoma. The event allows Dr. Cioffi and Lovett to remain in one place while appearing in multiple markets the same day. By using his skills as filmmaker, Lovett is collecting data and footage of his treatment journey for a future documentary called "Going Blind" that talks about the disease from the patient's perspective. Dr. Cioffi will highlight risk assessment and the importance of complete eye exams.

Manufacturers' events in Austria, China, Ireland, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom were geared toward increasing patient awareness. On March 6, Pfizer's China team distributed educational brochures throughout Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. A similar educational event Feb. 24 attracted more than 200 people.

The company's Austrian team sponsored a series of educational events March 6 in 50 to 60 locations throughout the country, with each event featuring an ophthalmologist to address medical questions. An educational meeting for the public drew 200 to 300 people, with brochures distributed to attendees.

Educational events were also planned for March 6 in Russia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Screenings were held in Russia and Ireland. Allergan has developed and distributed a marketing/public relations tool kit to eye-care specialists around the United States to encourage them to set up a screening event or to offer their glaucoma expertise to local media outlets. The tool kit includes a press release template, media alert, and tips for working with the media.

Working in partnership with the American Glaucoma Society (AGS), Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., Heidelberg Engineering, Reichert Inc., and Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems contributed devices for free screenings here for congressional employees who attended a briefing about WGD and the importance of early detection.

The 2-hour event at the House Rayburn building included a welcome by AGS President Robert N. Weinreb, MD, of Hamilton Glaucoma Center, University of California, San Diego.

More than 15 Alcon Laboratories affiliates planned events around the world, from patient screenings to public meetings, to help raise awareness about glaucoma.

In Brazil, for example, a national glaucoma program called "Brasil Contra o Glaucoma" held screening days in several cities around the country. Some 22,000 people were screened in 2007, and a significant percentage of them were diagnosed with glaucoma.

The company also is supporting the World Glaucoma Association, Prevent Blindness America, and other organizations' efforts to highlight glaucoma risk factors. In 2007, Alcon worked with Prevent Blindness America to screen participants of the AARP annual meeting.