Something as simple as a pair of well-fitted spectacles can alleviate all sorts of visual impairments and make people’s everyday lives easier. This can be achieved with standard lenses costing just a few dollars – a price that many people can afford. The biggest challenge is that there are simply not enough opticians who are qualified to fit spectacles. With its eLearning courses on refraction and vision correction and online knowledge databases, ZEISS is striving to facilitate access to key information in countries that offer very limited training opportunities to optometrists and opticians.
An equally important aspect of preventing blindness is providing people in all regions of the world with access to good eye care. The diagnosis, therapy and training centres which ZEISS sponsors as part of the VISION 2020 initiative make an important contribution in this respect.
In 2013, the fourth of these diagnostic, treatment and training centres for eye care opened its doors in the Paraguayan capital Asunción. The IAPB Centre of Excellence Latin America, which is sponsored by ZEISS, trains doctors in how to use modern equipment and apply the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating eye diseases. It places a particular emphasis on cataracts and glaucoma, two of the most common causes of preventable blindness.
These centres enable local people to benefit directly from the latest innovations in ophthalmology. For example, they provide training on how to diagnose and treat glaucoma at a very early stage before damage to the optic nerve has occurred. And they provide access to the latest techniques for identifying the most frequent cause of blindness worldwide – cataracts – which can then be treated using modern methods of cataract surgery. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that impairs vision.