Navigation Links
Israel makes dramatic advance in blindness prevention
Date:7/10/2013

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of blindness is preventable or treatable but it remains a severe health concern across the globe, even in industrialized countries.

Now hope is on the horizon especially if countries are willing to emulate Israel's approach to eye health, says Prof. Michael Belkin of the Goldschleger Eye Research Institute at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center in a new study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. In the last decade, rates of preventable blindness in Israel have been cut by more than half from 33.8 cases of blindness per 100,000 residents in 1999 to 14.8 in 2010. This improvement, found across all four main causes of avoidable blindness age-related deterioration, glaucoma, diabetes, and cataract is unmatched anywhere else in the world, he says.

The secret is not only the innovative methods of treatment that were added to the Israeli medical system, but their universal availability and accessibility, as well as good patient compliance with treatment regimens, including the correct use of prescribed medications.

Israel also offers community-based programs, such as dedicated diabetes clinics, which promote early prevention and timely treatment for diabetes-related complications that can lead to blindness. Prof. Belkin notes that such programs save public and private health care money in the long term.

Advancing eye care

To evaluate the effectiveness of eye health care in Israel, Prof. Belkin and his fellow researchers Alon Skaat, Angela Chetrit and Ofra Kalter-Leibovici from TAU and Sheba, conducted a statistical study measuring rates of blindness in the Israeli population over twelve years. They discovered that Israel has emerged as a world leader in preventing avoidable blindness, reducing rates by over 56%. The rates of untreatable genetic causes of blindness remained steady over the same period.

Several solutions are employed by Israel, which approaches the problem of blindness from medical, public health, and cultural perspectives. For example, age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in the industrialized world, is treated with a drug therapy originally approved for colon cancer tumors. By diluting the drug to create smaller doses for the eye an idea that originated in the United States it is possible to provide inexpensive therapy to thousands of patients.

From the public policy standpoint, Prof. Belkin notes that the decline in blindness due to cataracts is due to a change in health care policy rather than any technical advance. Since the 1990's, patients have been able to choose their doctors privately for cataract surgery. This practically eliminated wait times for surgery and prevented the condition from growing worse over the long term.

Long term savings

Prof. Belkin believes that it's possible for any country to adopt Israel's strategies for reducing blindness. Although the initial costs can be daunting such as the price of top-notch medications and setting up clinics it's a worthwhile investment. Treating blindness as it develops rather than preventing it from the start is much more expensive for the healthcare system in the long term. Diabetes clinics in Israel pay for themselves in about two years' time, he says, factoring in their impact on preventing greater health concerns.

But even the most advanced and widely available treatments can't be effective if patients are not examined by an ophthalmologist and don't adhere to the treatment regimen. In Israel, an exceptionally high rate of adherence to these regimens is a major contributor to the prevention of blindness.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists from UCLA, Israels Technion uncover brains code for pronouncing vowels
2. Israeli researchers to participate in European Commission flagship
3. Israel rocket attacks increase miscarriage likelihood -- Ben-Gurion U. research study
4. Cleveland LASIK and Cataract Surgeon Dr Michael Rom Speaks in Israel
5. German and Israeli scientists gain new insights into protein disposal
6. Disease that stunts infants growth traced to same gene that makes kids grow too fast
7. 'Music Makes It Better' Campaign Launches with Justin Bieber, Victoria Justice, and The Band Perry
8. Giving makes young children happy, UBC study suggests
9. Intuitive Number Sense Makes Daily Life Easier
10. ACP Immunization Advisor app makes it easier for doctors to identify vaccines for patients
11. What Makes the End-of-Life Experience Peaceful?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment ... also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent freestanding ... of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce Dr. ... James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , Dr. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A ... procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that ... but also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ... The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top ... Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine ... Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor ... Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)...   Bay Area Lyme Foundation , collaborating ... for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard Medical School ... Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans ... finalists of Lyme Innovation , the first ... scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from several ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American Respiratory ... testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments in ... Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients are no longer ... to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne R. ... testing done in the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in ... durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has ... is led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel ... investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization ... release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: