In 2012 the 3rd meeting of Aniridie-WAGR e.V. was arranged in Michelau, Germany.
Sept. the 1st 2012
First day on Sept. the 1st was planned as a day for people affected by aniridia and their families to socialize with each other, exchange information and just for having a nice day with coffee and barbeque later that day. The chosen facility offered a lot of possibilities for the children to play with each other, a conference room for discussions and a round of introductions and of course the possibility to enjoy the beautiful warm weather in this early September days.
The speakers for Sunday partially already attended at Saturday, so there was the opportunity for the participants to get into contact with 2 of the professionals, Dr. Koch and Mr. Junge, to learn more about the actual methods in iris implantation and auxiliary material for low vision patients. Also the presence of Mrs. Rosa Sánchez de Vega, president of Aniridia Europe, was appreciated by everyone and, although there was a little barrier of language, many information have been exchanged on international level.
Sept. the 2nd 2012
The second day on Sept. the 2nd , was reserved for the speeches of Dr. Koch, Mrs. Sanchez de Vega, Mr. Junge and Mr. Dellert.
First speaker Mrs.Rosa Sanchez de Vega introduced Aniridia Europe as a global working union for patients affected by aniridia. She exemplified the importance of international cooperation of health professionals, opticians and patients to build up a worldwide network for science and treatment, to share results and experiences and, on this way, to save important resources and prevent repetition of research and of course mistreatment. To underline her point of view she showed examples for successful projects of Aniridia Europe.
Second speaker and of most participants highly anticipated was Dr. Koch with his dissertations about implantation of artificial lenses in patience affected by aniridia, congenital, sporadic or by accident. He inducted the attendants into historical development of first artificial iris and the multiple problems regarding construction attributes and implantation of that iris into the eye.
According to the Cosmo Magazine, early artificial iris required a heavy surgery of the cornea, increasing the risk of losing the eye because of irreversible damage of the vitreous body. Additionally this early parts were unhandsome and pretty far away from the outward appearance of a natural iris. So it was necessary to develop an artificial iris that fulfills as well the technical requirements for an unproblematic implantation as well as an un-artificial visual nature of the treated eye.
The result is a foldable, suture-able artificial iris requiring small cutting in surgery with a natural surface which is available in different colors or will be painted to fit a partially natural iris when patients have lost a part of it as result of an accident or dysplasia of the eye.
Third speaker was the optician Mr. Thomas Junge who informed the audience about the state of the art in technical auxiliary material for low vision patients, just like simple optical magnifiers, electronic devices for enlarging text and pictures in size of a modern cell phone as well as stationary reading devices magnifying books or even the text on the dashboard or to transform written text into speech.
Just as important as the given information about auxiliary material his explanation of cooperation between patients and health insurance gave an insight into correct behavior if devices are necessary and shall be paid by the insurance.
Last speaker was Mr. Dellert, a young blind man from Nuernberg . He gave an exciting insight into his former life and how he managed to live with his handicap. He speaks about the positive things of his school time in a school for blind people. He reported that he had learned a lot about self-confidence and gained a lot of knowledge to live an independent life in our society. He is doing very well. Since 10 years he is working as a secretary in a District Office. In his spare time he is working for the radio station of the German blind organization, a facility for young blind people called “Blindenbund”. We´ve learned to know Mr. Dellert as a very cheerful young man who has learned to manage his handicap very well and is able to live an almost normal life.
In summary we have to remark that the 3rd German Meeting of Aniridie-WAGR e.V was very successful for all participants.
We are optimistically looking forward to our next event. D.Toews-Hennig / Christian Knopke