Breaking News
February 17, 2019 - Support from trusted adults can reduce risk of dying in suicidal teens, finds study
February 17, 2019 - Heart attack awareness improved since 2008
February 17, 2019 - Exercise gives a better brain boost to older men than women
February 17, 2019 - New research disproves previous assumptions of how looks influence personality
February 17, 2019 - Cannabis use as a teenager linked to depression later in life
February 17, 2019 - Sinks by Toilets in ICU Patient Rooms Harbor Harmful Bacteria
February 17, 2019 - Cancer cells’ plasticity makes them harder to stop
February 17, 2019 - Young cannabis users have increased risk of depression and suicidal behavior
February 17, 2019 - Tasmanian Devils Likely to Survive Cancer Scourge
February 17, 2019 - Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade seems effective in glioblastoma
February 17, 2019 - Personal, social factors play role in enabling sustainable return to work after ill health
February 17, 2019 - Mouse studies show ‘inhibition’ theory of autism wrong
February 17, 2019 - Study shows how neuroactive steroids inhibit activity of pro-inflammatory proteins
February 17, 2019 - Use of liver grafts from older donors decreased despite better outcomes in recipients
February 17, 2019 - MUSC researchers discover new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs
February 17, 2019 - HPV misconceptions are causing women to miss smear tests
February 17, 2019 - Sanofi and Regeneron Offer Praluent (alirocumab) at a New Reduced U.S. List Price
February 17, 2019 - Researchers say auditory testing can identify children for autism screening
February 17, 2019 - New method analyzes how single biological cells react to stressful situations
February 17, 2019 - WVU gynecologic oncologist investigates novel treatment for cervical and vaginal cancers
February 17, 2019 - ADHD diagnoses poorly documented
February 17, 2019 - Majority of gender minority youth do not identify with traditional sexual identity labels
February 17, 2019 - AbbVie, Teneobio enter into strategic transaction to develop potential treatment for multiple myeloma
February 17, 2019 - Lower Birth Weight May Up Risk for Psychiatric Disorders
February 17, 2019 - Scientists identify reversible molecular defect underlying rheumatoid arthritis
February 17, 2019 - Moffitt researchers shed light on how CAR T cells function mechanistically
February 16, 2019 - Female Anatomy May Play Big Role in Sperm’s Success
February 16, 2019 - BMI may mediate inverse link between fiber intake, knee OA
February 16, 2019 - Movement impairments in autism can be reversed through behavioral training
February 16, 2019 - Studies address racial disparities in postpartum period and cardiovascular health
February 16, 2019 - Scientists implicate hidden genes in the severity of autism symptoms
February 16, 2019 - Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture
February 16, 2019 - Gilead Announces Topline Data From Phase 3 STELLAR-4 Study of Selonsertib in Compensated Cirrhosis (F4) Due to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
February 16, 2019 - What Can I Do About Sweating? (for Teens)
February 16, 2019 - Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers
February 16, 2019 - Newly developed stem cell technologies show promise for treating PD patients
February 16, 2019 - Collaborative material research could advance self-assembling nanomaterials
February 16, 2019 - Researchers take major step in creating technology that mimics the human brain
February 16, 2019 - Erasing memories associated with cocaine use reduces drug seeking behavior
February 16, 2019 - Artificial intelligence can accurately predict prognosis of ovarian cancer patients
February 16, 2019 - Racial disparities in cancer deaths on the decline for America
February 16, 2019 - FDA authorizes new interoperable insulin pump for children, adults with diabetes
February 16, 2019 - Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link
February 16, 2019 - Skin Cancer Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 16, 2019 - ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder
February 16, 2019 - Cell manipulation could soon halt or reverse aging
February 16, 2019 - Pumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed Version
February 16, 2019 - Men’s porn habits could fuel partners’ eating disorders, study suggests
February 16, 2019 - Rapid progression of age-related diseases may result from formation of vicious cycles
February 16, 2019 - Immune checkpoint molecule protects against future development of cancer
February 16, 2019 - New method produces hydrogels that have properties similar to cells’ environment
February 16, 2019 - $4.1 million funding for heart research on Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2019 - General anesthesia in early infancy unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains
February 16, 2019 - New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research
February 16, 2019 - First Opinion: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here
February 16, 2019 - Vapers develop cancer-related gene deregulation as cigarette smokers
February 16, 2019 - Bringing Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to the Community
February 16, 2019 - Decolonization protocol after hospital discharge can prevent dangerous infections
February 16, 2019 - Children with ASD more likely to face maltreatment, study finds
February 16, 2019 - Study finds genetic vulnerability to use of menthol cigarettes
February 16, 2019 - Promising drug developed to rejuvenate muscle cells
February 16, 2019 - H-RT should be the standard of care for men with low risk prostate cancer, study shows
February 16, 2019 - New technique using patients’ own modified cells could help treat Crohn’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Therapeutic endoscopy has an expanding role in the treatment of IBD
February 16, 2019 - Blood clot discovery could lead to development of better treatments for blood diseases
February 16, 2019 - Intervention can increase exclusive breastfeeding rates
February 16, 2019 - New project explores how gaming technologies can help cancer patients communicate better
February 16, 2019 - Catalyst Biosciences Presents Updated Data from Its Phase 2/3 Trial of Subcutaneous Marzeptacog Alfa (Activated) in Individuals with Hemophilia A or B with Inhibitors at the 12th Annual EAHAD Congress
February 16, 2019 - Rerouting nerves during amputation reduces phantom limb pain before it starts
February 16, 2019 - A Hormone Produced When We Exercise Might Help Fight Alzheimer’s
February 16, 2019 - Millions of British people breathe toxic air travelling to GPs
February 16, 2019 - Conformance of genetic characteristics found to be crucial for longer preservation of kidney graft
February 16, 2019 - Researchers use optogenetic tool to control, visualize receptor signals in neural cells
February 16, 2019 - New reversible antiplatelet therapy could reduce risk of blood clots, prevent cancer metastasis
February 16, 2019 - Testosterone is not the only hormone needed for penis development
February 16, 2019 - FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Approval of Spravato (esketamine) Nasal Spray for Adults with Treatment-Resistant Depression
February 15, 2019 - Heart surgery technology developed at Baptist Health debuts after years of secrecy
February 15, 2019 - Prescription Opioids Double Risk of Triggering Fatal Car Crash
February 15, 2019 - New study helps doctors better understand high blood pressure in pregnant women
How to Protect Your Eyesight

How to Protect Your Eyesight

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

An interview with Dr. Neil Ebenezer from the charity Fight for Sight, discussing the importance of getting regular check ups and why research is still desperately needed for many ophthalmic conditions.

What are the most common causes of vision loss in the developed world?

There are currently over two million people with sight loss in the UK. By far the main causes of sight loss are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects around 600,000 people, glaucoma, which affects around half a million and cataracts, which affects approximately half a million people.

Elderly woman with cataractsCataracts. Image Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

While there is a lot of research in the areas of AMD and glaucoma, much more work needs to be done to tackle these conditions, which is why investment in eye research is so important.

We now have a simple operation that can address cataracts, a condition that previously caused significant sight loss in the UK. This clearly demonstrates that research breakthroughs are achievable and can have a huge impact.

How can people reduce their risk of vision loss?

There are a number of steps people can take to look after their eyes, although unfortunately, it isn’t possible to prevent all types of eye disease.

The most important thing people can do is have eye tests every two years – or more frequently if you’ve been advised to do so. This helps pick up on the early signs of any problems that can then be treated at an early stage.

Also, know your own family history; for example, is there a history of glaucoma in your family? If so you should get our eyes tested more frequently once you are over 40.

Glasses on top of reading chart as part of eye testImage Credit: Alexey Rotanov / Shutterstock

We know that other lifestyle factors can help prevent eye disease too, like regularly cleaning or disposing of wearing contact lenses to prevent infections that can cause sight loss.

It’s also very important to wear UV protective sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. This is particularly important for children under five whose eyes are more vulnerable to UV.

Our own recent research showed that one in two people don’t often wear sunglasses and that they are unaware of the role of UV in contributing to conditions like cataracts and possibly AMD.

Finally, make sure you get exercise and eat healthily. This will help to prevent conditions like diabetes and stroke which themselves can cause eye-related problems.

There’s now some evidence that there’s a direct link between exercise and reduced risk of glaucoma but more research is needed to confirm this.

Why is it important to have regular eye tests, even if you are not experiencing problems with your eyesight?

The NHS recommendation is to have your eyes checked every two years. However, our YouGov research shows that three in ten people don’t do this, and the main reasons given are that they think they ‘can see fine’ or can’t afford it.

It’s really important to have an eye tests even if you think you can see fine because eye tests can pick up on the early signs of eye disease.

Not many people realize that eye tests can also pick up on other health problems; for example, they can help with the early diagnosis of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even brain tumors.

What are Fight for Sight doing to address the growing problem of sight loss in the UK?

Put simply, our aim at Fight for Sight is to create a future where everyone can see.

We’ve currently invested 8 million in 160 research projects at 49 universities and hospitals across the UK and we fund projects that address eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, inherited eye disease and those eye diseases that are linked to other conditions like diabetes and stroke.

Our aim is to invest in pioneering research that could lead to the next breakthrough. For example, we funded the initial research that led to a world first gene therapy clinical trial at Oxford University for an inherited eye condition called choroideremia.

This condition ultimately causes blindness in people with the disease. However, the initial results from the trial show that the treatment has prevented further deterioration in the patients involved and, in some cases, has even restored some sight.

What does the future hold for ophthalmology and eye health?

These are interesting times for eye research, where methods like gene therapy and stem cell research offer huge potential to achieve the impossible.

As the eye is a contained area and separate from the rest of the body it’s an ideal place to test out some of these new techniques, so I expect to see these methods increasingly used to further the area of eye research, which is very exciting for all of us involved in this field.

Unfortunately, eye research as an area is woefully underfunded – our own figures show only one percent of public grant research spending went into eye research in 2017.

While the future is bright for ophthalmology and eye health, we do desperately need more funding in this area to reach the full potential that could be achieved through groundbreaking research, and to raise awareness of basic eye health messages with the general public.

About Dr. Neil Ebenezer

Dr. Neil EbenezerDr. Neil Ebenezer is currently the Director of Research, Policy, and Innovation at Fight for Sight and has a broad scientific knowledge with a degree in Biotechnology, a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector.

Most recently, Dr. Ebenezer was the Head of Science and Innovation at the Department for Transport (DfT) where he developed and managed an innovation portfolio of work to ensure that the Department had access to cutting-edge technologies.

Neil has also represented the MHRA at a European level as part of the New and Emerging Technologies working group.

 

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles