Tomorrow through Sunday, the Ocular Microsurgery Institute (IMO) will welcome more than one hundred vision specialists, mostly opticians and optometrists, for the Second Low Vision and Visual Rehabilitation Days, organised by the Spanish Society of Low Vision Specialists (SEEBV).
During the inauguration, which was chaired by Carles Domingo, Commissioner for Institutional Relations of the City of Barcelona; Carol Camino, President of the Spanish Society of Low Vision Specialists; Dr Borja Corcóstegui, Medical Director at IMO; Alfons Bielsa, President of the Official Association of Opticians and Optometrists of Catalonia; and Juan Carlos Martínez Moral, President of the General Council of Optician and Optometrist Associations, will present the latest ophthalmological advances for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of low vision and will discuss the main pathologies related to this growing problem, which is expected to increase by 25% in the next 20 years due, mainly, to people living longer, although it can present at any age for genetic or hereditary reasons, among others.
In Spain, there are currently over 2 million people suffering from low vision, who have not received treatment to rehabilitate the residual vision they still have, which would help them to improve their quality of life. According to the WHO, in Europe there are 20 million people affected, and this figure rises to 45 million worldwide.
The days will discuss issues such as paediatric low vision, visual stimulation, low vision rehabilitation owing to brain damage and new discoveries and treatments relating to retinal phototoxicity
During the days, experts will present technological advances in solutions, within the optics and optometry field, which enable visual rehabilitation and recovery of part of the vision with the resulting improvement of quality of life for patients. Among other topics, the days will discuss paediatric low vision, visual stimulation, low vision rehabilitation owing to brain damage and new discoveries and treatments relating to retinal phototoxicity.
The conference will also include a testimony from a patient with retinitis pigmentosa, who will explain their experiences as a sufferer of low vision. The days will feature internationally renowned professionals, such as Celia Sánchez Ramos, Doctor of Preventative Medicine and Public Health and Doctor of Vision Sciences, Bachelor of Pharmacy and Diploma in Optics and Optometry, and recently awarded an Honorary Degree from Menéndez Pelayo International University for her support communicating scientific knowledge to society, who will conduct the inaugural conference entitled "How and how much does phototoxicity affect low vision."
Founder and Researcher of the Neurocomputation and Neurorobotics Laboratory, Dr Sánchez Ramos is the inventor of 13 patent families relating to retinal neuroprotection, ocular biometry and road safety. In 2009, she was named Best International Inventor by the United Nations and, in 2010, she received the Grand Prize for the Best International Invention. Among her advances in the area of Vision Sciences, particularly notable is the patent for yellow optical filter lenses, which represent a shift in the world of optics from refractive optics to preventative optics. Another of the noted speakers taking part in the days is Dr Ana María Pérez, biologist, optometrist and Visual Rehabilitation specialist from Houston University, who developes her work in the United States, where she focuses her activity in the school sector, helping children with sight problems to acquire the tools and skills required to be able to develop their vocations and education in the future.
The aim of the conference is for all patients requiring treatment to make the most of the residual vision they still have
According to Carol Camino, President of the SEEBV and Head of IMO's Low Vision Department, "once again, we are bringing the best professionals together to learn and advance in an area still relatively unknown to society. The SEEBV's aim is to reach every patient requiring treatment and make sure that no-one loses their independence and autonomy due to not having made the most of the residual vision they still have."
The Spanish Society of Low Vision Specialists is the organisation with the highest number of professionals dedicated to low vision and visual rehabilitation. Its main objectives include the prevention of low vision through informative work, information and approved clinical protocols for the treatment of patients and research into the field of optics and optometry, with the aim being to improve visual rehabilitation results.