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Interview of the month - Pr Reda Žemaitienė

Every month, ERN-EYE invites you to meet an active person within the network through a short interview. This month, it's Pr Reda Žemaitienė, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas and the HCP representative in the European Reference Network for Rare Eye Disease.

 

"The key issue would be to ensure the same quality of healthcare, genetic testing and treatment for patients with rare eye disease across the European Union. The virtual clinic has given us access to the best European experts but we also need guidelines and registries of rare eye diseases and more collaboration between HCPs in research projects."

My name is Reda Žemaitienė. I am Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas and the HCP representative in the European Reference Network for Rare Eye Disease. In my clinical practice, I specialize in diagnostics and treatment of anterior eye segment diseases and inside of ERN-EYE I am a member of a working group four (WG4). I am also interested in and work with pediatric rare eye diseases patients.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue ERN-EYE could overcome?

Firstly, the key issue would be to ensure the same quality of healthcare, genetic testing and treatment for patients with rare eye disease across the European Union. The virtual clinic has given us access to the best European experts but we also need guidelines and registries of rare eye diseases and more collaboration between HCPs in research projects. Secondly, I think we have to remember patients’ psychological and social problems that frequently come with low vision and blindness due to rare ocular diseases and ERN-EYE could provide experts input in this field as well.

What are the main challenges of the network?

All the members of the ERN-EYE are committed to their time-consuming clinical practice, scientific work, and training of students and residents, so finding a sufficient amount of time to participate in discussions, panels and other related projects of the network is quite a challenge. Overall ERN-EYE activities should become an important tool in rare eye diseases patients’ management, and we still have to find the best way how to incorporate these activities into our daily clinical practice.

And the best advances?

One of the main advances was improved attitude to the patients with rare eye diseases. ERN-EYE allowed us to provide better access to ophthalmologist consultation and genetic testing. Therefore, we have a great opportunity to choose the best treatment according to the recommendations of network experts. We are also grateful for possibility to participate in ERN-EYE training programs and collaborate on research projects.

In your dreams, what would ERN-EYE look like in 10 years?

I hope ERN-EYE will continue to grow as a strong community of experts, young ophthalmologists interested in rare eye diseases, patient’s societies, and other healthcare specialists. This should ensure the integration of the best knowledge and care of rare eye diseases patients and the continuity of this network. I wish we could treat rare disease patients as any other patients. I believe that scientific progress will finally provide us available and affordable rare eye diseases treatment.

 

 

Watch the interview on YouTube

 

 



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