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Ophthalmic Epidemiology Research Center
 

World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Eye Health and Prevention of Blindness in Iran

Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Prevention of Blindness Center is a newly established research center that was officially designated by the Shahid Beheshti Medical University in 2013.
Vision: to eliminate avoidable blindness and low vision and improve eye health
Mission: To facilitate and support high quality research projects and public health activities in the field of prevention of blindness and eye health
Objectives
•    To take an active part in the development of strategies for prevention of blindness
•    To foster a multidisciplinary approach to promote eye health and to deliver eye care to all
•    To conduct applied field research on the epidemiology, management, and operational aspects of avoidable blindness
•    To develop field practice models for comprehensive eye care
Activity Areas:
1.    Epidemiologic Studies
2.    Increasing Public Awareness
3.    Communication and Networking
4.    Implementation of the Vision 2020 Program
Research
The researchers of the Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Prevention of Blindness Center have been involved in some extended epidemiologic and population-based studies in different provinces of Iran. Keratoconus, trachoma and avoidable causes of blindness including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age related macular edema were the main topics of these surveys. The results of these studies are used as an advocacy and promotional tool for prevention of blindness and the allied manuscript have been published in scientific journals. Some of the pioneer publications in this field are listed below:
•    Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Tehran province: a population-based study. BMC Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct 16;9:12.
•    Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness in Iran. Ophthalmology 2011. Sep;118(9):1812-May 13.
•    The Yazd Eye Study-a population-based survey of adults aged 40-80 years: rationale, study design and baseline population data. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2013;20(1):61-9.
•    Epidemiology of keratoconus in an Iranian population. Cornea. 2012 Sep;31(9):1044-7.
•    M. A Population-based Survey of the Prevalence and Types of Glaucoma in Central Iran: The Yazd Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2013 Oct;120(10):1977-84.
•    Profile of cataract surgery in Varamin Iran: a population based study. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2014; 42: 354–359.
 
Implementation of the Vision 2020 program
The “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight” initiative, a global program for prevention of blindness, was launched in 1999 by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The program promotes the development of health systems to deliver integrated, sustainable, affordable, accessible and equitable eye care services to all.  Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Prevention of Blindness Center intends to support the Vision 2020 program by:
•    Technical cooperation with the local health policy makers and other relevant institutions through providing information, services, and advice, and also by supporting high quality research and training projects.
•    Annual celebration of World Sight Day to increase public awareness
•    Contributing to national and district level Plans for prevention of  Blindness

Increasing Public Awareness
Annual celebration of the World Sight Day is one of the main activities this center. In this occasion, avoidable causes of blindness are highlighted and educational and promotional programs are designed and implemented both for the health care professionals and the community members considering the latest WHO keynote messages and themes. Some of our previous activities are presented below :