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Optometry Professor awarded significant Roche grant

Money will be used to investigate difficulties patients have with coping with sight loss


Vision researchers from City University London have been awarded a large grant from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

The £346,000 unrestricted investigator-initiated project grant from Roche will enable Professor David Crabb and his team from the Division of Optometry and Visual Sciences to investigate the difficulties patients have coping with sight loss resulting from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

One of the leading causes of sight loss, AMD affects a significant number of the elderly population and the impact of the disease is substantial and rising. In AMD, sight loss is typically measured by letter charts or by ‘photographing’ changes in the retina at the back of the eye. However, less is known about how gradual sight loss in AMD impacts on patients’ everyday life.

The aim of this work is to illuminate the difficulty that patients with AMD have with ‘visual activities’ in their everyday lives. This will be done with a series of lab based experiments on volunteers with the disease to see how well they perform on tasks including, for example, face recognition, searching for items and hazard detection.

Speaking about the grant, Professor Crabb, who specialises in vision research and statistics, said: “This grant from Roche will allow us to tackle the important question about how AMD impacts upon people’s everyday life. AMD is a leading causes of sight loss and it impacts on a large number of the elderly population. We hope this study will help shed light on the issue, especially for those with the ‘dry form’ of the disease who at the moment are generally untreatable. However, there are some exciting potential treatments in the pipeline and our work might help to show the benefit of these..”

The work is being done in collaboration with Alison Binns (Lecturer in Optometry and Visual Science). The work also funds a research fellow (Dr Wei Bi) and a PhD student, Deanna Taylor.

If any people with AMD (especially the dry form of the disease) would be interested in taking part please contact Deanna Taylor or @crabblab on Twitter for further info

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