EGRET & EGRET+ Workshop in Finland was a major success
Monday September 16th, 2019
OCUSWEEP hosted an important workshop for EGRET researchers on September 9th-13th 2019 in Turku, Finland.
One of the research subjects in the EGRET (the European Glaucoma Research Training) programs is the effect of glaucoma on the drivers’ operational vision.
People are often not aware of problems with their vision since the brains tend to fill in the gaps – i.e. people do not even notice what they fail to see – which is why it is important to measure functional vision. That is critical, especially when a person is running a risk of catching an eye disease or has already been diagnosed with one.
Periodical examinations of functional vision will allow an early identification of symptoms for possible deviations related to the vision. A person’s functional vision can be evaluated with the OCUSWEEP method even in the event of eye disease (e.g. glaucoma). For example, in order to assess whether it is safe for a person to drive, it is vitally important to first assess the patient’s visual performance as thoroughly as possible.
EGRET programs have the aim of teaching young researchers (optometry and visual science) in how to acquire new, quantitative knowledge on glaucoma and the aging of the visual system and applying new knowledge to boost innovation in glaucoma care in both the public and private sectors. EGRET programs focus on research into the causes, earlier detection and better treatment of glaucoma. These research and training programs have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
Glaucoma is the most common age-related neurodegenerative eye-disease in the western society and one of the four major blinding eye diseases. Glaucoma is an insidious disease that – when untreated or detected too late – leads inevitably to blindness, resulting in a profound loss of quality of life for the affected individual and in major costs to society. In the European Union, approximately 6 million people have glaucoma. They all require chronic medical care, which is a severe burden on the healthcare system. Moreover, current treatment – which aims at lowering ocular pressure – can slow deterioration but does not halt the process. Approximately 15% of glaucoma patients still become blind.
The conventional view of glaucoma is that of an eye disease in which an elevated intraocular pressure damages the retinal nerve cells mechanically, initially resulting in visual field loss, and ultimately in blindness. However, recent insights have indicated that this classic view is far too simplistic: rather than being a disease restricted to the eye, glaucoma involves both intraocular pressure and intracranial pressure and it damages neural tissue in both the eye and the brain. Up to 65 genes with widely varying functions have been implicated in glaucoma and striking resemblances have been found with two other major neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Glaucoma is thus vastly more complex than previously assumed.
Functional vision can deteriorate as a result of eye or brain disease. We don’t only see with our eyes, but with our brain as well. With the OCUSWEEP method, relevant areas of human neuro-visual system can be measured with one accurate and reliable device. The test results at the patients’ personal vision health account establish a baseline which can be followed up and compared with when new tests are made. This way, early signs of deterioration can normally be detected in time.
More details and information on this event @ Ocusweep blog soon.