20/20 is the imperial measure of normal visual acuity. Yet there was nothing imperial or normal about 2020, the year in which COVID-19 made the world lose sight of its future.
2020 also marked the 20th anniversary of Keratoconus Australia.
It may not seem like we had a lot to celebrate this year – especially for those of us in our home state of Victoria where we spent a large part of the year in isolation and lockdown.
We have, however, achieved much since Keratoconus Australia was created in a small café 20 years ago.
Our greatest achievement is the support we have provided to thousands of Australians with keratoconus and their families as they confront the daily challenges of life with keratoconus.
- We have offered our own experiences with keratoconus as a guide to those newly diagnosed with keratoconus and we help them find the best possible carers.
- We have advocated for better, more affordable treatments.
- We have helped create world-leading research projects to ensure treatments are both safe and effective, and ultimately, to find a cure for keratoconus.
- We have engaged in training the next generation of keratoconus optometrists.
- We have raised awareness of keratoconus through public information seminars to highlight the needs of people with keratoconus and to publicise the latest developments in keratoconus treatments and management.
One day, we might even teach the world how to pronounce keratoconus.
Twenty years ago nobody was doing any of this for the keratoconus community. So yes, even in the midst of a global pandemic, we think there is something for all of us to celebrate.
We are now taking a short break until end-January.
We wish you and your families good health, happiness and prosperity for the coming new year. Stay safe and take care of your eyes. They are very precious.
Keratoconus Australia held its Annual General meeting for 2020 on December 3, in Melbourne.
A full report of the Association’s activities and financial position in 2020 can be downloaded below in pdf format or from the About Us page of our website.
Minutes from the meeting including the results of committee elections can be downloaded here.
Put in eye drops – not your fingers
Eye rubbing can trigger and worsen keratoconus and other eye diseases. Your optometrist or pharmacist can recommend a range of eye drops to ease the itch and urge to rub.
Quick tips for relief of itchy eyes
- Avoid allergens as much as possible by staying indoors on high pollens days, or wear wrap around sunglasses outdoors
- cold compresses over the eyelid can provide short term relief from sore and inflamed eyes
- remove your contact lenses if suffering severe symptoms and can wear spectacles instead
- use over-the-counter allergy eye drops from your pharmacy. For severe symptoms, ask your GP or optometrist to prescribe stronger medication
- if you have other allergic responses such as a runny nose, try taking an antihistamine tablet available from your pharmacy or supermarket
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be prescribed to decrease swelling and inflammation from seasonal allergies
- steroid drops may also be prescribed for acute eye allergy symptoms but should be used only for short periods due to potential adverse side effects
Whatever you do, try not to rub your eyes
KeraClub held its 5th annual community event in July 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held as a webinar-only online event. Speakers included Professor Stephanie Watson and Dr Himal Kandel from the Save Sight Institute and optometrists, Allan Ared and Jessica Chi. Musician Michelle (Urquhart) Pritchard who has a lived experience of keratoconus chaired the webinar. Attendees heard the latest news on keratoconus research, contact lens management in Covid-19 times, why you shouldn’t rub your eyes and more.
Keraclub is a joint initiative organised by Keratoconus Australia and the Save Sight Institute. Over 230 people registered for the event, from around Australia and a host of other countries including New Zealand, the Netherlands, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Mexico.
If you have not already done so, you can still watch the video of our KeraClub 2020 webinar on the Keratoconus Australia YouTube channel. Other videos about keratoconus, research and treatments can also be found there.
Keratoconus Australia is on Facebook where we are posting all the news about the Association, its partners, the latest research in keratoconus from around the world and what’s happening in the local keratoconus community.
Please spread the word