This World Sight Day, Vision Executives are undergoing a fundraising event for three vision loss charities. One of these charities is Andean Medical Mission, who recognise the extreme poverty and lack of eye health care in Bolivia.
Our gruelling Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge will pale in comparison to the travelling Andean Medical Mission do, sometimes for 3-4 days, to reach the incredibly remote Andean villages they intend to administer treatment in.
Training up Bolivian doctors, using the funds we intend to raise, will make treatment in these villages easier. Dave Goldsmith explained that currently “there are 15 ophthalmologists per million population”. Andean Medical Mission intend to bring a focus to this lack of eye health care in such a poverty-stricken country.
To find out more about the charities we hope to raise money for this World Sight Day, please read our article and consider donating via our JustGiving page.
In Canada, it is thought that there is a greater pay gap between genders in the ophthalmology sector than in any other speciality group. Data accumulated by Felfeli and colleagues found that between 1992 and 2018, male ophthalmologists in Ontario generally received a 17% higher income than female ophthalmologists.
“The trends identified suggest that female ophthalmologists are comparatively productive to male ophthalmologists, but despite this, disparity in median payments for female ophthalmologists exists and is more prominent than in any other specialty groups” Felfeli and co explained.
In the US and the UK, the trend is similar. A survey from 684 US Ophthalmologists in 2020 suggested that women are paid 10.6% lower than their male counterparts. Suggestions for why this extend from women being less likely to negotiate their wage, to men being in more higher paying roles.
The Pay Gap for Women in Medicine and Academic Medicine, details data from 1,160 doctors including Ophthalmologists. It reported that Ophthalmology specialists in the UK have the second largest gender pay gap than other speciality groups at 30%. This is taking into account factors such as maternity leave, fewer years of experience and less chances to get high profile roles, yet the disparity between male and female wages are still high.
So the data suggests there is a gender pay gap on the clinical side of Ophthalmology but how about for all the companies that manufacture medical devices & pharma which supply the Ophthalmologists?
Vision Executives Three Peaks Challenge, in aid of World Sight Day, is a particularly suitable fundraising effort to raise money for one of our three chosen charities: Himalayan Cataract Project.
One of the founding members, Dr Geoffrey Tabin, is a passionate mountain climber and has summitted Mount Everest when he witnessed a Dutch medical team perform a life changing cataract surgery in a Nepalese village on a woman who had been blind for several years. Her blindness was preventative, and this inspired Dr Tabin to become an ophthalmologist so that he could make a difference.
Mojo Vision have announced their progress on a tiny AR display they are embedding in their contact lenses. This will provide a digital layer of information that will be superimposed on what you’ll really see.
The lenses will have a hexagonal display – a ‘femtoprojector’ – which will expand the imagery optically and beam it to a central patch of the retina.
These new lenses contain a lot of electronics, including a camera to capture the outside world, a computer chip to process imagery and controls the display, whilst also wirelessly communicating to external devices.
Chief Technology Officer, Mike Wiemer, said "We have got this almost working. It's very, very close". The prototypes have passed toxicology tests and Mojo Vision have the hope that a fully featured prototype will be available later this year.
If this succeeds, Mojo Vision will help people with vision problems, as well as helping others such as athletes track their fitness statistics. It is going to be very interesting to see how this innovative product develops.
Globally, 2.2 billion people live with some form of vision impairment – 1 billion of these could be prevented. World Sight Day, which was first held in 2000 as part of the Lions Club International Foundation’s campaign SightFirst, was created with the aim to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
Vision Executives was founded with the intention of becoming one of the world’s leading eyecare recruitment providers. One of founding principles is to ‘provide more than just recruitment services and contribute positively to the community which makes this industry great’. That is why this World Sight Day, 14th October, we are undertaking the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in our ‘Walk for World Sight Day’ event. This challenge involves walking 24 miles up three mountains, with an ascent of 5200ft, in under 12 hours. We intend to donate the money to worthy #eyecare charities, but there are so many, we struggled to choose! Cue my LinkedIn network of over 5000 eyecare professionals. I asked them for suggestions and I received an incredible number of recommendations.
We would like to thank everyone who nominated a charity, we considered every one of them. As there were so many, we wanted created a shortlist of a few smaller organisations to raise money for but also awareness of their tireless work to improve vision around the world.
3 charities in particular stood out to us: Andean Medical Mission nominated by Martin Rescorle, Himalayan Cataract Project nominated by Koray Alpaslan and Sight For All nominated by Shane Hage.
If you would like to donate to our Walk for World Sight Day event and the charities we are raising money for please visit our JustGiving page.
We reached out to all of these charities to find out how they are tackling the problem of global vision loss. I also spoke to Nick Parker, from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to understand the global strategy in the fight against preventable blindness.
OCULUS have announced that it has received FDA clearance for the Myopia Master. According to Oculus, “The quick, contactless measurement method for axial length is not influenced by the accommodation status of the eye and delivers reproducible results.”
VOPTICA - Leading Visual Adaptive Optics plans to announce the first and only inverted meniscus intraocular lens (ArtIOLs) to improve peripheral vision. It improves peripheral vision by mimicking the optics of the natural crystalline lens providing optimised field curvature and peripheral astigmatism.
“Current intraocular lenses are designed to optimise image quality at the eye’s central retina, with not much attention to their off-axis performance,” Pablo Artal, CEO of Voptica. More than 1000 ArtIOLs have already been implanted with excellent results for the patients. Currently, this lens is available on the European market.
Aurion Biotech have announced their preliminary findings from its IOTA trail which was conducted in November 2020 and May 2021. 50 patients who have been diagnosed with corneal endothelial disease were treated with a transformational cell therapy procedure which were developed by Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine.
The trail is the first corneal endothelial cell therapy procedure to be performed successfully outside of Japan. “This is a landmark moment for the treatment of corneal endothelial disease” Dr Edward J. Holland, Chief Medical Advisor at Aurion Biotech.
In their first trial, 16 patients were treated from a single donor, whilst in the second trial, 34 patients were treated from a single donor. The procedure is minimally invasive for patients and accessible for surgeons.
“The IOTA trial has given us invaluable clinical insights and confirms that this procedure can restore vision to patients suffering from blindness resulting from corneal endothelial disease” Greg Kunst, CEO Aurion Biotech.
Patients will be monitored overtime in order to assess the safety and efficacy of the cell treatment therapy.
A message from our Managing Director:
Last week I received a mystery package from my mum, who’s living in Australia and who I haven’t seen in well over a year due to the pandemic. When I opened it up, I was presented with the canvas in the image below. ‘What a lovely gift’ was my first thought, but as I mounted it on the wall in my office, I realised there was much deeper meaning behind it.
Firstly, the image is one I took on a residential trip during my first year of university. It is from the top of Pen-y-ghent, one of the Yorkshire three peaks. Looking back at this trip, I realise how lucky I was to be at university at all.
As a teenager, my heart was set on playing professional rugby, until two knee reconstructions (or a lack of talent) prevented me from securing a first team contract. Following this disappointment, I chose to attend university. My degree was paramount in in my getting my fist interview with a recruitment company and ultimately landed me the career I’m in today. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that job, but unluckily for that company I was hired by a much larger international recruitment agency and won an award for being the top newcomer. This success didn’t come easily. It took a year, and endless hours of failure and learning to achieve it.
It was that international #recruitment agency who first introduced me to the ophthalmology industry. A few years on and I am now running my own recruitment company Vision Executives. I was only able to start this company because my dad, and business partner, loaned me the money to start up. Perhaps he identified a bit of potential in me, particularly after the abysmal year 2020 had been for the recruitment industry.
As the first quarter of my business comes to a close, I can look back at how fantastic it has been and at some of the great candidates I have helped secure exciting new jobs for. Perhaps, like me, their potential would have been overlooked had Vision Executives not been there to help them.
Eventually everything comes full circle. I am currently planning which eyecare charity Vision Executives are going to raise money for this #WorldSightDay, coincidentally by climbing the three peaks which, of course, includes Pen-y-ghent, the mountain from the canvas. It is strange how everything works out in the end, but I think my mum may have just come up with our new company slogan: ‘Vision is the ability to see potential in what others overlook’.
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices and stents, which are designed to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), have dominated the field of glaucoma. However, a few companies have emerged onto the ever-growing glaucoma surgical device market who are taking a different approach to treatment.
Neuromodtronic GmbH have developed a device to prevent further optic nerve damage and restore vision loss using electrical stimulation. Eyetronic is advertised as the ‘the first treatment of glaucoma that can improve visual fields’ and uses gentle electrical pulses to stimulate the optic nerve. So far, 500 people have had the treatment, with no significant side effects. 32% of patients in a 2019 study of 72 people showed partial visual-field restoration, whilst ‘no further disease progression was observed’ after 12 months – Karl Schweitzer, CEO.
MicroOptx developed the Beacon Aqueaous Microshunt, aiming to target refractory glaucoma. However, there are hopes of treating normal-tension and primary angle-closure glaucoma in the future, according to Chris Pulling, CEO. Their device shunts aqueous humour from the anterior chamber to the surface of the eye.
BELKIN Vision (Belkin Laser ltd) has announced the results from their first-in-human trial using their one-second direct selective laser trabeculoplasty. Patients with open-angle glaucoma who received this treatment have seen a 27% reduction in IOP with no serious side effects.
As an alternative to MIGS, Sanoculis Ltd. are focussing on minimally invasive micro sclerostomy. A surgeon creates a sclerocorneal drainage channel to enable fluid control and reduce IOP in a procedure which lasts less than a minute. Nir Israeli, CEO, stated that 140 patients have received this treatment, with 53% reduction in IOP after six months.
Matilda Parente, CMO of ELT Sight has reported the long-term benefits of their ExTra Excimer Laser Trabeculostomy method. IOP was reduced by 38% after 5 years.
Ivantis, Inc are also hoping to see long-term benefits for their Hydrus Microstent, a MIGS device which recently received FDA approval for the treatment of mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma alongside cataract surgery. Global SPECTRUM’s patient registry included 900 patients with an average drop of 20% in IOP in those who had concurrent cataract surgery and 30% for those who received stand-alone microstent placement, showing consistent results after year 1, 2 and 3.
It is exciting to see how the glaucoma market is developing and we will be keeping an eye out for any future developments in this space.
World Site Day 2021 is less than 100 days away and Vision Executives want to raise money and awareness for eye care related charities. As such, WE WANT YOU to nominate your favourite eye care charities to feature in our upcoming article highlighting some of the great work done by these charities to support people suffering visual impairments around the world. In addition to this we are aiming to raise over £1000 for one of these charities by undertaking a gruelling physical event this World Sight Day (14th October).
PLEASE NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE EYECARE CHARITY ON OUR LINKED IN
While you’re here we also wanted to share the #LoveYourEyes from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). “Almost everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime, yet more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services,” Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB. In September IAPB aim to get over 1 million people to pledge to get an eye test. Whilst the lack of eye care services is a global issue, getting people who have access to an eye test to book one is an excellent start.
James Pickering is our Managing Director and an eye care recruitment expert who has developed an extensive client base and candidate network. He regularly writes articles about industry developments and has received numerous recommendations from industry leaders. You can also connect with James on LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest eye care news.