Targeting policymakers and the public in the U.K.

March 6, 2008

Glaucoma specialists in the United Kingdom are hoping that a multitude of events held across the country will reinforce the urgency of detecting and treating glaucoma. The events are aimed not just at the public but also at policy makers.

London-Glaucoma specialists in the United Kingdom are hoping that a multitude of events held across the country will reinforce the urgency of detecting and treating glaucoma. The events are aimed not just at the public but also at policymakers.

A World Glaucoma Day (WGD) buffet reception was organized at the Houses of Parliament, London, and hosted by former shadow health spokesperson, John Baron MP. Each Member of Parliament (MP) in attendance was provided with an information packet describing the objectives of WGD and an International Glaucoma Association (IGA) booklet. A leading expert from Moorfields Eye Hospital made an introductory speech, following which the MPs were offered an onsite glaucoma test that included IOP, retinal tomography, and the Moorfields-developed motion displacement test, representing the three recommended tests of pressure, structure, and function.

The coordinators of U.K. initiatives said patient awareness days would take place in some of the country's leading eye hospitals, while posters and leaflets were delivered to GP surgeries around the country. A conference on "living with glaucoma" by patients with glaucoma was given at the Western Eye Hospital in London. Meanwhile, two of the UK's leading chains of opticians, SpecSavers and Boots, displayed posters in more than 800 of their stores nationwide. Pharmaceutical companies (Alcon, Allergan, and Pfizer) helped to produce posters, leaflets, and advertisements.

WGD organizers in the United Kingdom are also targeting online users with links displayed on numerous Web sites including The General Optical Council, The Royal College of Ophthalmology, the charity Age Concern, and Sky News.

The media is involved, too, with an article in OpticianOnline, ads in Pulse and Optometry Today, and pieces in regional papers across the United Kingdom. Organizers hit the airwaves, too, with features on regional radio stations and a Moorfields physician gave radio interviews for BBC Radio London (breakfast show) and Voice of Africa (breakfast show).

Around Europe...

Spain

In the Spanish city of Vigo, there was an interview set with a glaucoma specialist on a local news channel, a screening event at the hospital, and a public meeting for people to ask ophthalmologists any questions they have about the disease.

Switzerland

In Lausanne letters were sent to GPs informing them about the day and to ophthalmologists asking if they would be willing to offer free screening at their clinics. Advertisements were placed in local newspapers and posters were put up in opticians? offices and pharmacies. Furthermore, advertisements were placed on local public transport such as the underground and buses. Local radio station ran ads for 1 week before the event and there was an article in the local newspaper. At one hospital, there free screening was available all day, informative posters, pamphlets and videos on display, as well as a short talk on the subject with the opportunity for patients to ask questions. A minibus in the town square offered a free screening and referral service.

An open-clinic day was planned in Geneva, where patients received a free simplified examination. In the downtown of Geneva, a mobile unit offered the public an examination on site. The local press ran articles on glaucoma, and interviews with specialists in the field were broadcast in the local and national Swiss media. Six conferences were occurring in the city during the day and, importantly, some specialists were taking part in the Geneva marathon to help raise awareness.

Italy

In the Italian city of Torino an open-clinic day was planned where ophthalmologists and nurses were available for people have their IOP measured and/or to obtain information about glaucoma.

Sweden

 In Stockholm the St. Erik Eye Hospital, together with the Glaucoma Patient Association, held a symposium at the City Conference Center. The event was announced in the newspaper and printed materials about glaucoma were distributed to the public.

Turkey

In Istanbul a patient-education glaucoma conference was organized and a free glaucoma screening day was held. Brochures were distributed about glaucoma and articles about WGD. The announcement for the glaucoma conference and the screening day was published in several of the city's high-circulation newspapers.

Serbia

In Serbia a press-conference and cocktail event was held for more than 100 guests in Belgrade's City Hall. Public screening was carried out in shopping centres from March 3 to 8 in seven different cities as well as public screening on the main square in the centre of Belgrade. There was media coverage in newspapers and TV morning news as well as the dissemination of printed information and the distribution of badges to the public.

Croatia

In Croatia, local WGD organizers contacted the local and national media (TV, radio stations, and newspapers) and organized open-door educational events and free open-door eye exams for patients, especially for those with known risk factors. WGD also saw the inauguration of a glaucoma referral centre with the Croatian Prime Minister set to be the first patient.

Slovakia

In Slovakia press conferences were held, a short educational documentary was made, and free examinations were available to the public.