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On the occasion of World Glaucoma Day 2009 the EGS organized a screening session for glaucoma in the European Parliament of Brussels on March 4, 2009. The invitation was sent by MEP (Minister of European Parliament) Frieda Brepoels from Belgium (photo 1).
Photo 1. T. Zeyen and F. Brepoels (MEP)
Screening for glaucoma in EU parliament of Brussels
More than 100 MEPs and co-workers responded and were screened between 9 AM and 1 PM. Staff members of the Dept. of Ophthalmology of the University of Leuven were helped by technicians from the industry and took the following tests after the attendants filled in a short questionnaire: automated refraction, pneumotonometry, optic disc imaging with the HRT and, finally, a slit lamp and ophthalmoscopic examination (photo 2-3).
Photo 2. Screening for glaucoma in EU parliament of Brussels
Photo 3. Screening for glaucoma in EU parliament of Brussels
Ten patients were diagnosed with glaucoma or were glaucoma suspect; 2 knew their diagnosis and 3 others had a positive family history of glaucoma (bias of screening on invitation!). This screening program was very successful in raising awareness for glaucoma among the Members of the EU Parliament.
On the same occasion the EGS organized a lunch meeting for MEPs in the European Parliament of Strasbourg on March 11, 2009 (photo 4).
Photo 4. T. Zeyen, C. Migdal, E. Wayenberg and F. Brepoels
Lunch debate in EU parliament of Strasbourg
Twenty MEPs and staff members attended the meeting, hosted by MEP Frieda Brepoels. Clive Migdal set out the challenges for glaucoma in Europe and Ellen Wayenberg described her experience as a young glaucoma patient, and the impact the disease had on her quality of life. The presentations were followed by a lively debate and many questions arose among the attending MEPs.
A "Written Declaration" was be submitted to the European Parliament and, if accepted, will pave the way for possible European projects like case finding across EU member states, initiatives to harmonize glaucoma care within the EU, and funding for glaucoma research.
ENVI committee (Public Health) of the EU Parliament: