- Tuesday, 11 September 2012
The International Glaucoma Association (IGA), the charity for people with glaucoma, is delighted to announce that Dame Maggie Smith, distinguished actress and winner of two Academy Awards and five BAFTA film awards, has agreed to be its patron.
On accepting the role, Dame Maggie said, “I am delighted to support the work of the IGA. Glaucoma is a condition of which people are generally unaware - it is important that its profile should be raised. Then the general public would have a greater understanding and appreciate the risks involved, so that, if necessary, they can seek treatment quickly.”
The new appointment follows discussions between Dame Maggie and the IGA’s recently elected Chairman, Mr Keith Barton MD FRCP FRCS who, along with the dedicated Trustees, will strive to improve awareness of the IGA within ophthalmic circles both nationally and internationally, but more importantly to raise awareness of glaucoma among the general public. Keith stated that “the appointment of such a high profile patron is a great step towards that goal. I am hoping that Dame Maggie’s involvement will raise the profile of glaucoma in the public consciousness.”
Glaucoma is a much misunderstood condition, which affects about two per cent of people over 40: an estimated 600,000 people in the UK. It slowly causes irreversible sight loss, which often goes unnoticed until significant damage has been done. What’s more, it’s thought that only half of those with the condition have been diagnosed. One of the IGA’s main objectives is to raise awareness of glaucoma, and it’s hoped that the appointment of Dame Maggie will make it that much easier to get the message out.
According to David Wright, Chief Executive of the IGA, “At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK – millions all over the world – are losing their sight needlessly. Glaucoma is treatable. If you have it, then it’s possible to prevent further significant sight loss. But too few people are aware of the risk and the need to get regular eye tests. I’m enormously grateful to Dame Maggie for agreeing to be our patron. Glaucoma is so important and so often overlooked, and the value that someone of her standing can bring to the IGA is incalculable.”
The IGA is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to glaucoma patients, their carers and relatives. It produces free patient information, available from its website, www.glaucoma-association.com, and provides free advice on glaucoma through its helpline, Sightline (01233 64 81 70).
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