"It’s the world in union, the world as one…” Hearing these lyrics as a sports fan means only one thing: it’s time for the Rugby World Cup! This four-yearly sporting extravaganza should hit your TV screens around the same time as the Eye News Oct/Nov 2023 content appears here.
And what an international festival it promises to be, with plucky underdogs proudly representing their countries and often punching above their weight, while greater resourced opponents struggle under their established history and the pressure to perform. Colourful support and songs, controversial groups of death, bone-jarring collisions and a TMO system (which unlike in football, actually works) offers plenty to keep this editor amongst others transfixed for the next two months. Will Ireland finally embrace their ranking and potential, or will the southern hemisphere teams steamroll their way to victory?
However, not all is rosy in the world of rugby union. Some clubs have folded under financial pressures trying to keep up with the others. There are class action legal cases looming regarding traumatic brain injuries and concussions, with previous World Cup winners unable to remember their victories beyond what they see on old footage. Sometimes rugby doesn’t look after their own.
For example, imagine having a work-related injury, retiring, developing a solution and then meeting resistance from your employer on your attempts to return to work. That scenario happened to Ian McKinley, the Irish rugby player who, following a traumatic eye injury, has become an unintended spokesperson for protective eyewear in sport. Please use his awesomely honest interview with Peter Cackett to inspire you to read his book, Second Sight, and then educate yourself about available eye protection options (which you can then recommend to your ophthalmic patients to enable them to stay active in sports).
Similarly, international ophthalmology has some success stories but also struggles with resource allocation, inequality and associated consequences. Marcia Zondervan and colleagues share some of their groundbreaking work through The International Centre for Eye Health and Vision 2020 LINKS & Networks. We have reports describing dynamic collaborations such as ROP networks and eye health surveys leading to service allocation and improved patient care, with lessons which could be applied across the globe. However, Richard Bowman and colleagues provide a sobering overview of the challenges with retinoblastoma in low- and middle-income countries and the need for international partnerships. Alemayehu Sisay shares the work of the Orbis organisation with decreasing trachoma cases in Ethiopia, yet with much still to do to achieve disease elimination.
Andy Pyott also shares wise insights from his life as an international agent of ophthalmic activity. There are the usual high-quality, high-impact case reports and Amar Alwitry’s invaluable contributions to cause us to reflect on practical and medicolegal scenarios. And if that is not enough for you, Andrew Tatham has curated an excellent bonus supplement updating us on the world of glaucoma.
The Rugby World Cup theme song concludes by reminding us to be positive about the future “as we climb to reach our destiny”. By positively engaging to address local and global inequalities, a new age has already begun in eyecare. I trust this international Eye News Oct/Nov 2023 content will help you renew the vision of the ophthalmic world as one big eye family, working together to improve the vision of the patients in our care, and inspire you to help others to do the same.
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