Fighting Corneal Blindness: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Prof Stephanie Watson

Meeting:  2018 RANZCO


Date:      -

Session Title: Lecture- Council

Session Time:      -

Synopsis: Today, clinicians have access to technology and knowledge that allows them to help many. However, patients of all ages are still losing sight from corneal blindness and suffering with discomfort and blurred vision from corneal disease. Research work done yesterday has provided some of the solutions. Learnings from every day practise can also save sight, and changes in policy and education can have a multiplier effect. The Save Sight Keratoconus Regis- try (SSKR), part of the Fight Corneal Blindness Project!, holds data on over 15,000 visits from 1,700 patients and each month grows by 10%. Today, the SSKR has reported on the patient experience of and treatment trends in keratoconus, as well as providing benchmark CPD approved reports for corneal cross-linking. Real world data is captured as clinicians’ in every- day practise can use the registries. Following a ‘world first’ stem cell treatment that restored the corneal surface and improved sight, using a unique model, new knowledge of stem cell biology has allowed us to optimise this treatment. A RANZCO position statement on Ocular Stem Cells has informed the public on the current state of stem cell treatments. The public were also alerted to Vitamin A deficiency in Australian children and adults. For corneal infections a sur- veillance programme, Orthokeratology advice, and an international collaboration have been developed. An international study is looking towards prevention for ocular trauma. For tomor- row, supporting research along with training the next generation of eye experts – clinicians and scientists, will allow continued provision of the best care to our patients.