Save Sight Registries set global benchmark for research

After eight years of development and experience, the Save Sight Registries (SSR) at Save Sight Institute has been endorsed as a preferred data collection system by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement, ICHOM.

After eight years of development and experience, the Save Sight Registries (SSR) at Save Sight Institute has been endorsed as a preferred data collection system by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement, ICHOM

Following ICHOM’s development of a “comparable and measurable data set for benchmarking and learning” for macular degeneration by leading clinicians in the field, patient representatives and global registry leaders, our system has been endorsed as a preferred supplier to ensure the accurate collection of this data.

The SSR is an initiative of Save Sight Institute that collects real-world clinical data on macular degeneration patient outcomes.  To date, the registry has accumulated over 120,000 treatments on 5000 eyes, after rapidly developing international interest with its unique patient focus.

According to the director of the Macular Research Group at Save Sight Institute, Professor Mark Gillies, “For patients, the simplified graphical outputs of their treatment journey helps them to understand the consequences of various treatment approaches”.

The initiative seeks to promote improved outcomes for patients and organisations, particularly in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema. and  keratoconus.

The statistical functionality of the SSR allow clinicians to conduct self-audits. “Armed with these reports, I believe that my colleagues will see the value of the program for their patients and their practice, amongst many others” said one clinician.

It is expected that by collecting measurable standardised outcomes, comparisons at a global level through the registry will lead to advancements in patient care by focusing on patient- centered results.

Rock the NDIS – event for blind or vision impaired people

Presented by People With Disability Australia , people who are blind or vision impaired are invited to a ‘Rock the NDIS’ event at The Rocks in Sydney on Saturday 26 September  from 12-3pm.

A free lunch, great music, chats about the National Disability  Insurance Scheme (NDIS), hoola-hooping fun and more are just some of  the activities that will form part of the event, which has been  designed to kickstart discussions about how the NDIS will affect  people  who are blind or vision impaired.

Rock the NDIS will be held from 12-3pm on Saturday 26 September in the  function room of the King George V Recreation Centre, located at 3  Cumberland Street in The Rocks.

The centre is an 11 minute walk from Wynyard Station, or a six minute  walk from the bus stop on the corner of George and Essex Street.

If you would like to attend the event, or find out more  information, please contact PWDA by calling 02 9370 3100 or by sending  an email to Krystel Keller (link here) by 4pm Tuesday 22 September.

Please advise if you have any access or dietary requirements when  you register.

This event is for people with blindness or low vision, and are aged  between 15-65.

You are welcome to bring a friend or support person along to the event.

USYD awards innovation grant to SSI for ‘Eye Clinic In Your Pocket’ app

The University of Sydney has awarded an Education Innovation Grant to the Save Sight Institute to implement a unique, interactive and portable eye examination tool.

The University of Sydney has awarded an Education Innovation Grant to the Save Sight Institute to implement a unique, interactive and portable eye examination tool.

Developed by Dr Con Petsoglou and Christine Brickenstein, the project will not only enhance the learning outcomes for postgraduate medical students who specialise in ophthalmology, but will create a free, universally-available, constantly updated tool for health care providers everywhere.

According to Dr Petsoglou “Many health professionals are required to examine the eyes of a patient. This includes not only those in the eye health field, such as ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists, but also general practitioners, neurologists, nurses and allied health professionals. To do this properly requires specialised tools, instruments, equipment and knowledge. Frustratingly, these are often not available for a variety of reasons.”

The ‘Eye Clinic In Your Pocket’ app will enable health care providers to conduct a number of specific tests to examine the patient’s visual system. It will enable users to replace expensive or frequently unavailable equipment with a single validated app. It will also include practical instructions on how to perform the tests and high quality images and videos to assist in the interpretation of results.

“Unfortunately, not all medical graduates are exposed to the essentials of ophthalmology” said Dr Petsoglou “and without these skills they cannot competently and correctly examine the eye. In a recent USA survey only 30% of medical schools included a formal ophthalmology rotation. This app will support health providers everywhere to ensure better eye care.”

The ‘Eye Clinic In Your Pocket’ app will be developed and validated by postgraduate students under the supervision of of the Save Sight Institute’s Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology academics and clinicians. It will be constantly maintained as a core part of the Practical Ophthalmic Science unit within the Master of Medicine or Graduate Diploma of Medicine in Ophthalmic Science programmes.

According to programme coordinator Ms Christine Brickenstein “Although there are a number of free and low cost apps presently available, none of these have been validated and they all contain a limited range of tools. There are presently no comparable apps with the unique practical tools that the ‘Eye Clinic In Your Pocket’ will feature.”

Anticipated for launch mid-2016, the innovative app will consist of a number of eye examination modules, each broken down into three key areas: Tests, Instructions, Images. The following tools are planned for development:

  1. Visual acuity testing tool: eye charts, children’s charts, near and distance;
  2. Macular tests: Amsler grid, near vision testing (macular function), black on white, white on black, feature to allow recording of abnormalities on-screen; 
  3. Optokinetic nystagmus tool: moving stripes of different width and velocity;
  4. Colour vision testing tool: to test colour vision with up to ten images; 
  5. Contrast sensitivity testing tool: Pelli-Robson type circles, letters or with a sliding scale to adjust contrast level; 
  6. Pupil testing tool: utilising torch smartphone function and alternating light from screen to test pupils for abnormalities;
  7. Childhood eye tests: animations (stripes or flies), 100s and 1000s;
  8. Keratometry: illuminated rings with image capture and simple analysis;
  9. Clinical image reference set: 20-30 images of cases;
  10. Ophthalmic instrument reference and troubleshooting tool: indirect and direct ophthalmoscope, slit lamp and keratometer.
This unique initiative will have a positive impact on international eye health, and illustrates the Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology’s novel approach to education and the practical application of knowledge to maximise social impact.
For further information please contact the Discipline.

Save Sight Registries launch Keratoconus Audit

TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2015 Save Sight Institute invites patients and professionals interested in hearing about the latest developments in monitoring treatment outcomes for keratoconus to attend the launch of the Keratoconus Audit within the Save Sight Registries platform.

TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2015

Save Sight Institute invites patients and professionals interested in hearing about the latest developments in monitoring treatment outcomes for keratoconus to attend the launch of the Keratoconus Audit within the Save Sight Registries platform. Register here. 

Thanks to the generosity of Mr Larry Kornhauser from Keratoconus Australia who made a gift to Save Sight Institute of $50,000 in memory of his mother, the Save Sight Institute has extended its successful Save Sight Registries platform to incorporate the monitoring and improvement of treatment approaches for keratoconus.

Registration is free but essential.

Guest speakers on the day will be:

  • Professor Mark Gillies, Save Sight Institute, Head of the Macular Research Group
  • Professor Stephanie Watson, Save Sight Institute, Head of the Ocular Repair Group
  • Mr Larry Kornhauser, President of Keratoconus Australia. 

To register please click here. For more information please call (02) 9382 7316.

Hands Off Your Eyes!

Eye specialists from the Save Sight Institute in Sydney have warned that chronic eye-rubbing could be damaging your eyes. In collaboration with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and Keratoconus Australia, the Save Sight Institute is calling for better public awareness of the risks associated with eye friction.

Eye specialists from the Save Sight Institute in Sydney have warned that chronic eye-rubbing could be damaging your eyes. In collaboration with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and Keratoconus Australia, the Save Sight Institute is calling for better public awareness of the risks associated with eye friction. 

Growing evidence indicates that constant and vigorous eye-rubbing can bring on, or worsen, a relatively common ocular condition called keratoconus, which affects around one in every 2,000 people.

Keratoconus blurs vision by thinning the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye. As the cornea thins, it begins to distort and bulge, and becomes cone-shaped rather than the usual round shape. Significant loss of vision can result as the cornea is primarily responsible for the eye’s focusing power.

In its early stages, vision may be corrected with spectacles although there may be an increased sensitivity to light. As the condition advances, vision may no longer be adequately corrected due to the high irregularity of the cornea.

Both eyes are usually affected, but may respond in different ways, and 20% lead to severe visual impairment. As the condition continues to deteriorate, a corneal graft may be required.

According to Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson from the Save Sight Institute, “Eye rubbing is often caused by allergies, and this can become a problematic habit. In chronic eye rubbers, more severe keratoconus often corresponds with the dominant hand.”

Twenty-four year old Darren Wright is one person who found out the hard way that vigorous and prolonged eye rubbing can have unfortunate consequences. Recently diagnosed with Keratoconus, he said “I didn’t know that just rubbing my eyes was so bad for, and especially that it has contributed to my deteriorating vision”.

The precise cause of keratoconus is unknown. It is thought that genetic factors may contribute, and that eye rubbing can lead to eye trauma, as well as trigger the release of enzymes which weaken the cornea.

Mr Larry Kornhauser, President of Keratoconus Australia is concerned about the lack of public awareness of the risks of eye rubbing.

“The Association regularly hears from young people with progressive keratoconus who ask why their vision deteriorates so quickly,” he said. “We ask them if they have itchy eyes and if they rub their eyes vigorously and most say ‘yes, why?’. They get upset when told that eye rubbing is contra-indicated with keratoconus as it can trigger or accelerate the disease. They (or their parents) always say, ‘why didn’t anyone tell us?’ ”

Keratoconus Australia believes that publicising the effects of eye rubbing could be a simple but significant step in the fight to minimize the impact of keratoconus in the community. Eye-carers and allergists have a responsibility to inform their patients of the impact of eye rubbing and offer effective treatments for itchy eyes.

Researchers from the Save Sight Institute are working hard to find new and improved ways of treating this eye disorder.

In progressive cases of keratoconus, a technique known as ‘corneal cross-linking’ is commonly used, using UV light and a photosensitiser to strengthen chemical bonds in the cornea, ultimately with the aim of halting the progressive degeneration.

The Ocular Repair Group at Save Sight Institute, under the leadership of Prof Watson, has recently launched a sophisticated web-based software platform to collect data across a large number of real-life clinical settings.

“This allows us to analyse high volume patient outcomes from the procedure” says Prof Watson “and this important information plays a direct role in improving the way in which we care for patients affected by keratoconus, now and in the future”.

The Corneal Disease Group at Save Sight Institute, under the leadership of Professor Gerard Sutton and Dr Con Petsoglou, have had considerable success in identifying an important protein which is expressed by people affected by keratoconus, and are working towards possible future treatments targeted at this protein.

To support eye research at the Save Sight Institute please click here.    

Macular Degeneration – Community Info Session

TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY 23RD OCTOBER 2015 FROM 10AM – MIDDAY

Hear from internationally renowned clinician and laboratory researchers about the latest developments in treating and preventing macular degeneration. Presented by Professor Mark Gillies.

Places are limited so register early to avoid disappointment. Please be sure to advise us if you are unable to attend as other people may be waitlisted to attend.

Click here to register