Importance of Testing for Genetic Eye Disease in the Arab World

Published November 10th, 2009 - 01:20 GMT

 Eye care is not just about deciding whether you need spectacles or not. You’re over all visual and general health should be checked regularly by an ophthalmologist as there are many predisposed genetic diseases that can have a degenerative affect on your eyesight from an early age. Leading ophthalmic experts at Sight 2009 today highlighted the importance of testing the UAE and regional population for genetic blindness and called for governments to support studies and research into this medical field.


Organised by IIR Middle East, the team behind Arab Health, Sight 2009 Exhibition & Congress is the region’s premier ophthalmology event supported by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Health UAE, and the Dubai Health Authority. The event continues on the 11th and 12th of November 2009 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) and will feature a two-day CME accredited conference sponsored by Cleveland Clinic and workshops designed to provide education and support to medical professionals working within ophthalmic healthcare.


During his lecture “Genetic Eye Diseases – Prevalence in the Arab World and Current Status of Molecular Testing”, Dr Elias I Traboulsi, Director of the Centre for Genetic Eye Diseases at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute in USA talked about the importance of using genetic testing to identify the main causes of genetic blindness in the UAE and Arab region.


“Research suggests that there is a higher prevalence of genetic blindness in the Arab region compared to the Western world,” explains Dr Traboulsi. “It is important that government bodies and healthcare authorities understand the advantage of conducting genetic screening from an early age. The initial cost implications may be high but future testing and treatment of genetic eye disease will become increasingly cheaper and more effective. For this particular region, genetic testing can be used to confirm a clinical or prenatal diagnosis, as well as for pre-marital screening which may be able to prevent these types of problems occurring in the future.”


“Clinical debate and discussion at Sight 2009 will address solutions to specific challenges faced in the region’s changing demographics today,” says Raza Chevel, Conference Produce for IIR Middle East. “The conference includes an impressive line-up of presentations and Dr Traboulsi’s lecture on genetic eye diseases in the Arab region will give ophthalmologists treating patients from this part of the world a greater understanding of underlying conditions that may influence their treatment options.”


For more information on Dr Traboulsi’s lecture series at Sight 2009, please call +971 4 4072 743 or visit for details of this event.


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