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Fight for Sight launches survey

Fight for Sight launches survey to gather insights on the personal impact of sight loss

Fight for Sight is launching an online survey to gather broader insights into the personal impact of sight loss and eye conditions. The charity invites those affected by sight loss – either personally or indirectly via someone they care for – to participate in the survey and strengthen the case for urgently needed eye research funding.

The survey comes in response to shocking findings that sight loss costs the UK over £28 billion each year, yet only 1% of funding for public services is spent on eye research. This equates to just £20 for each person living with sight loss.

Fight for Sight believes that despite the evidence, the scale of this growing health challenge is not being taken seriously. Determined to change this and to build a case for more eye research funding, Fight for Sight desperately needs the input of those affected by sight loss to demonstrate its impact and to secure more funding for pioneering eye research.

Fight for Sight’s Chief Executive, Sherine Krause, said:

In launching this survey, we hope to gather some valuable insights into the impact sight loss can have on those living with it. Unfortunately, sight loss is viewed by many people as inevitable. But we know its impact – for many people – can be devastating, from both a personal and financial perspective.

“We’re determined to build a case to demonstrate this, in order to be able to fund life-changing research. Fight for Sight’s pioneering research has already led to transformational treatments and our science is on the verge of future cures. With more funding, we hope to radically reshape the future for everyone affected by sight loss.”

Participation in the survey involves a short 15-minute phone interview or online survey in which respondents share information and answer questions on how living with sight loss or an eye condition impacts their life or that of the person they care for.
Interested participants should fill in the following short questionnaire to register their interest in taking part: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TG2PRLX, which takes less than five minutes to complete, or call 020 7264 3900.

When the full 15-minute survey is launched in early 2020, those who have registered their interest will be contacted and invited to take part in a 15-minute online survey. The survey can also be done over the phone if this better suits access needs.
To register interest in taking part, please complete this short questionnaire by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TG2PRLX or call 020 7264 3900.

Participants can really help to transform the eye research landscape and build a case to secure urgently needed funding for pioneering eye research projects.

 

-ENDS-

Contacts:

 

Alice Mitchell, Senior Media and Communications Officer; Direct line: 020 7264 3917; E-mail: alice.mitchell@fightforsight.org.uk

 

About Fight for Sight

 

Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

 

The charity currently invests over £8m in 160 research projects at 49 different universities and hospitals across the UK.

 

The organisation’s research covers both common and rare eye diseases and conditions including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, inherited eye diseases and those linked to other conditions like stroke and diabetes.

 

Over the course of Fight for Sight’s history the charity’s achievements include:

 

  • the creation of the corneal transplant service
  • new treatments to save the sight of premature babies
  • research leading to the world’s first clinical trial of gene therapy treatments for choroideremia, an inherited condition that causes blindness in men
  • the design of a new eye test that can detect the early stages of sight loss in age-related macular degeneration
  • the identification of new genes responsible for glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, keratoconus and other corneal disorders
  • supporting the development of Peek, a Portable Eye Examination Kit that uses a unique smartphone-based system for eye testing anywhere in the world

Fight for Sight social media:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fightforsightuk

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FightforsightUK

 

Instagram: @fightforsightuk

 

New research discovers possible alternative to antibiotics to treat corneal infections

A researcher from the University of Nottingham has discovered a possible alternative to traditional antibiotics for treating corneal infections.

In his project, Fight for Sight funded researcher Dr Darren Ting from the University of Nottingham explored using antimicrobial peptide drugs to treat corneal infections, which can cause severe sight loss and blindness.

The initial findings of this research project were reported to the charity in September 2019 and are very promising, giving hope for these antimicrobial peptide drugs to provide much-needed alternatives to conventional antibiotics and helping to preserve people’s sight in the future.

Read more:

Cornea donation myths dispelled

On World Sight Day (10 October), NHS Blood and Transplant needs to dispel five common myths around cornea donation and encourage people to give the gift of sight.

One in 10 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register have indicated that they do not wish to donate their corneas, making corneas the part of the body that most people say they do not wish to donate. (1)

This has contributed to NHS Blood and Transplant eye banks being 20% below the level needed to supply hospitals across the country. As of 24 September, there were 273 corneas in NHS Blood and Transplant’s eye banks. Our aim is to have 350 corneas in our eye banks at any one time to supply to hospitals.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs to urgently dispel five myths and misconceptions that are potentially preventing people from giving the gift of sight:

Continue reading on the”I Donate” website

Corneal Research in Wales

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences a grant valued at £2.4 million for a large scale study on the cornea.
The aim of the research is to develop new technologies and techniques to better understand the function of the cornea and other collagen rich tissues. The research will also look to develop novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of connective tissue disorders including developmental abnormalities, disease and abnormal healing processes. The team will also continue to run, on behalf of the ophthalmological community, the UK Cross-linking Consortium to drive towards the best possible treatment for keratoconus.Cardiff University has been been awarded a £2.4m grant from the Medical Research Council to continue with their corneal research programme for a further 5-years.   Read more …

Consultation on the new Moorfields site

Consultation update and invitation to further discussions.

Latest news : 7 August 2019

Moorfields and its partners, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity, are proposing to build a new centre bringing together excellent eye care, with ground-breaking research and education. The preferred location is a site that has become available at St Pancras Hospital, just north of King’s Cross and StPancras stations in central London.

The proposal, called Oriel, is the subject of a public consultation from 24 May to 16 September 2019. For more information, please visit oriel-london.org.uk.

Let us know your views by 16 September 2019.  Continue reading 

This is the original message received from Moorfields in July:

As important members of the Moorfields community, you will know that our hospital at City Road has been at the forefront of providing the highest quality eye care for over a century.
The way we provide eye care now is very different but our surroundings have remained largely the same. We want to continue our legacy of providing the cutting-edge treatment and care you need, but there is very little space to expand and develop new services in our current hospital.
By 2026, we want to build a brand new centre on land that has become available at the St Pancras Hospital site, just north of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. Our aim is to create a world-leading centre for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease by bringing together excellent eye care, ground breaking research and the world’s best education in ophthalmology – but we cannot do this alone.
A public consultation on our proposal is now open until 16 September 2019 and we want you to get involved. Whether you are a regular patient, a carer or a member of staff, we need you to tell us what you think of our plans and how they could affect you.
You can find out more about the proposal at www.oriel-london.org.uk and you can share your views by completing the survey available here. Alternatively, you can send an email to moorfields.oriel@nhs.net or phone the team on 020 7521 4684 to request these materials in a different format.
We look forward to hearing your views on this next stage in our development.
Tessa Green      – Chairman
David Probert  – Chief Executive

Genetic research into KC

Some of you will remember that the KC Group donated 4K to the Moorfields team, headed by Mr Stephen Tuft, researching the genetics of KC to enable them to do some additional analysis of the data. You may also have read the summary of the talk given by Professor Alison Hardcastle at our AGM earlier this year in our latest newsletter. Her talk gave an outline of the results of that analysis. A scientific paper giving detailed results has now been published.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31246245

In sending us the above link, Stephen Tuft wrote “The results of the work have given us some clues as to the genetic causes of keratoconus. In addition, this work will complement a very large study into the genetic basis of keratoconus that we hope to submit for publication in the next few weeks. The Keratoconus Group has helped us recruit for this study, and we are grateful for that.”

He also asked us to thank our members and tell them that their support at an early stage of this work helped move the research forward at an important time.
Quite a few of our members took part in the very large study that Mr Tuft mentions, so we will obviously let you know as soon as we have details of that publication.

by Anne Klepacz » Fri Aug 09, 2019

New study to help with shortage of eye donors

Eye image

Researchers at the University of Southampton and clinical partners across England are leading a new project aimed at helping to tackle a shortfall in the number of people willing to consent to eye donation.

In partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service – with £720,000 funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), researchers at the University will investigate the viability of approaching patients in specialist palliative care settings or hospices, who may be willing to donate their eyes after they die.

Eye tissue is needed to treat a variety of eye conditions and to aid research into new sight saving therapies. However, currently there is a lack of eye tissue available to combat eye diseases which can lead to sight loss. NHS Blood and Transplant eye banks are around 20 percent below the level needed to supply hospitals. In April 2019 there were 279 corneas available, with a store of 350 needed at any one time to satisfy demand for the treatment of patients.

Lead researcher, Dr Tracy Long-Sutehall comments: “Understandably, people can hold very strong feelings about donating their eyes or those of a loved one – from concerns about disfigurement to cultural or religious considerations.

Before and after corneal transplant
Corneal scarring (top). Eye following corneal transplant (bottom).

“Most people who die in the UK may be eligible to donate their eyes, but people are unaware that they could potentially donate, and we know that health care professionals can be reluctant to start conversations about the subject with patients or relatives for fear of causing upset or offence. Our study will tell us if donations could be increased if carefully managed approaches are made to patients and their families during hospice and palliative care.”

The researchers will review the medical records of 1,200 deceased patients who died in three specialist palliative care settings and three hospice care settings to assess how many of these patients would have been eligible to become an eye donor and how many were referred to NHS Tissue and Eye Services for assessment.

Uniquely, current patients receiving care in palliative and hospice care settings will be asked to share their views about eye donation and their thoughts on discussing the issue of donation as part of end of life care planning.  Carers and health care professionals will also be interviewed so that their concerns and views are gained.

The study will underpin future planning by NHSBT as they develop strategies to increase eye and tissue donation and develop an intervention that will ensure that the potential to donate is part of care planning conversations with patients and their family members across the palliative and hospice care sector.

Helen Gillan, General Manager for Tissue and Eye Services at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Our eye banks are currently well below the level we need to be able to restore the sight of everyone who could benefit from a corneal transplant. We are delighted to be working with the University of Southampton on this study which could help to increase the number of corneas donated, providing hope for many people waiting for a transplant.

“We need more donors who can help give the gift of sight. Through approaching more families and patients in hospices and palliative care, we hope to start having conversations around cornea donation.”

Click here to visit the Southampton University Website

Love Your Lenses

Lens hygiene and care is crucially important.  To get the message across a new campaign has been launched and you can find out about it here.

In addition Moorfields has issued details of an Outbreak of preventable eye infection in contact lens wearers.  Details can be found here.

The Sight Advice FAQ

The Sight Advice FAQ answers questions about living with sight loss, eye health or being newly diagnosed with a sight condition. This includes those who are supporting people through their sight loss journey, including parents, partners, carers and friends.
It contains a search box and menu to find what you’re looking for.The site has been built by RNIB, Guide Dogs, Visionary, VICTA and Fight for Sight, working together in partnership.  Click here to visit the site

Their most frequently asked questions