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Optometry professor awarded significant European grant

Funding will be used to investigate and improve the detection of glaucoma


Professor David Crabb, an optometry academic at City University London, has received 547,000 Euros from the European Glaucoma Research Training Program-Plus (EGRET+) to investigate and improve the detection of glaucoma.

The two new projects will specifically use the funds to further explore how to detect and monitor glaucoma during everyday tasks and in a complimentary project the team will work to improve the identification of vision loss in patients with glaucoma.

Running until 2020 and led by academics at the University of Groningen, Netherlands the project includes other academic institutions and business from across Europe. The grant will be used at City to employ two PhD fellows and host training sessions for all 15 fellows during the lifetime of the grant.

Glaucoma is the most common age-related neurodegenerative eye-disease in western society and one of the four major blinding eye diseases. If untreated or detected too late, glaucoma will end in blindness, yielding a profound loss of quality of life for the individual and major costs to society.

Given the complexity of glaucoma and to advance the assessment and therapy beyond the current knowledge base, EGRET+ will help to train a new generation of researchers to study all aspects of glaucoma and the aging visual system. As a result the new knowledge generated through the project has tremendous potential to positively impact the lives of millions of European citizens.

As part of the first project, Professor Crabb will aim to develop a test that uses everyday activities such as watching movies to detect dysfunctional eye movement which can be predictors of the early stages of glaucoma. This project will potentially enable glaucoma detection to move out of the clinic to the home where any vision loss can be captured more regularly, enabling earlier diagnosis and treatment.

The second project will work in tandem with the first to investigate if combining information from retinal imaging and conventional measurements of vision can accelerate the reliable identification of vision loss in patients with glaucoma. This programme of work will adapt and develop statistical models for detecting glaucoma progression already developed at City University London and will also incorporate modern statistical methods for assessing changes in the retinal images.

Speaking about the grants, Professor David Crabb said:

“These two new grants from the EGRET+ study will enable us to improve the detection of glaucoma through two novel studies at City in collaboration with other leading institutions and businesses across Europe. Glaucoma affects a large number of the elderly population. This new project will train the next generation of researchers to investigate a condition which can have a devastating impact on everyday life. The award also illustrates how Optometry at City University London is at the centre of international glaucoma research.”

Visit the EGRET+ website for more information on the programme and to apply for PhD positions, and also follow the Crabb Lab on Twitter and find out more info about the group on the City website

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