Takeaways from the Pan American Ophthalmology Congress

The Pan American Ophthalmology Congress and the Brazilian Congress of Ophthalmology was held earlier this month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Vision Impact Institute’s President, Jean-Felix Biosse Duplan was invited to talk during the “How to help the governments work better with patients” session with Dr. Bruce Spivey and Professor Rubens Belfort Junior as moderators. Having this topic as part of the agenda reflects the growing interest in this issue throughout the industry.

The Vision Impact Institute is a global resource for the vision of the world, and we were happy to launch in Brazil in May. At the Congress, we learned it is incredibly important for the vision community and the Institute to be involved in local research and the pursuit of geographically-relevant data. That is why the Institute does not pretend to have complete knowledge; on the contrary, the Institute is asking the optical community to further investigate new studies.

Also participating in this session were Marcus Vinicius Abbud Safady (President of the Brazilian Society of Ophthalmology), Dr. Flavio Eduardo Hirai (Community Eye Health), Dr. Marcos Pereira de Avila (President of the Brazilian Congress of Ophthalmology), Dr. Justine Smith (President of the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), and Professor Paulo Henrique de Avila Morales. The importance of this session is reflected in the depth of talent that participated, having both local and international representatives to discuss how to aid governments in communicating with patients.

The Pan American Association of Ophthalmology did a wonderful job of bringing diverse representatives of the optical world together to converse about the global challenge of impaired vision and look for answers to improving ophthalmic knowledge and skills, and patient care.

The Institute’s informational efforts highlight the most prevalent cause of visual impairment – uncorrected refractive error (URE). According to the Brazilian Congress of Ophthalmology, URE is the least costliest and easiest to fix. Both communities agree that to succeed in reducing the effects of URE, educating both the optical industry and the public is important. The Institute’s resources are important to the global community, but are imperative for local communities to showcase their needs to their public health officials.

Latin America is a diverse region. It is difficult to compare individual regions within the vast geographical landscape, thus showcasing the need for local research information. As with the comprehensive U.S. study published on vision economics by Prevent Blindness America in June 2013, it would be wonderful to see similar comprehensive research coming from Latin America to build the resources of the vision community.