Read the latest news from our vision science laboratories, related clinical matters and find out how generous gifts help our vital studies..
Research supported by Gift of Sight is undertaken in the University of Southampton and informed by conditions seen in patients in Southampton Eye Unit.
The University of Southampton has made it possible for us all to work from home in these challenging times. Please be assured that our office is 'business as usual'. The telephone in the Gift of Sight office will forward calls to our mobile phone. If we don't reply immediately please leave a message and we'll get back to you.
Delighted to advise that the laboratories are up and running again, although in 'shifts' to protect our wonderful research team.
Please read our latest Newsletter
26 February 2021 New findings by the Ratnayaka group has shown how the Alzheimer’s-linked amyloid beta (Ab) proteins that collect in the ageing retina can contribute to sight-loss. This study provides new insights into how the retina can become damaged in age-related macular degeneration. Anti-Ab treatments can therefore be tested in the future, which may prove useful in preventing retinal damage by these toxic molecules. The study was funded by the NC3R and published in the journal Cells. Huge congratulations to Dr Savannah Lynn on this excellent result and to everyone named on the publication.
26 January 2021 Professor Andrew Lotery is pleased to be part of a team that has shown that air pollution is linked to increased risk of AMD as reported in the Guardian Newspaper.29 January 2021 We’d like to share our heartfelt thanks for support from ExxonMobil Fawley, kindly sponsoring the printing costs of our Gift of Sight Newsletters for a further year. They have also generously donated £1000 towards the purchase of two iPads for the CHEETAH study, helping children with amblyopia have their vision tested at home. We’re really grateful for such amazing and ongoing help. THANK YOU
10 January 2021 Thanks to the Freemasons of the Chapter of Maturity who have kindly donated £1000 to support our vision research studies. We were nominated to receive this gift by a member who has been receiving ongoing treatment at Southampton Eye Unit. Such a very kind deed.
22 December 2020 Grateful thanks to the Southampton office of BDB Pitmans LLP for applying for the generous donation made throught the BDB Pitmans Charitable Trust. Your ongoing support is very much appreciated.
17 December 2020 Thanks to The Hendy Foundation for their support in purchasing two iPads to help children with amblyopia. A study being run by Dan Osborne (Research Orthoptist) will enablel parents and carers to be taught to test their vision at home,. A great saving of time for the children and parents and avoiding visits to overstretched eye clinics.
10 December Congratulations to Prof Parwez Hossain and his clinical team in Southampton Eye Unit. They have studied potential ways to develop new therapies to limit the sight-threatening tissue destruction that can occur with a corneal infection by using simpler and faster methods of diagnosis. Please read the full article
20 November Congratulations to Dr Ellie Keeling on her paper published in The International Journal of Molecular Sciences detailing how a 3D-Reconstructed Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Provide Insights into the Anatomy of the Outer Retina. This is Ellie's third publication this year and we're very proud to have her in our University of Southampton Vision Sciences group.
16 November A request by Jay Self for people to join in a survey relating to Nystagmus. Please access the survey here.
15 October A very generous donor has committed the sum of £56,000 to enable the move of our human stem cell laboratory to a new space in the labs. The need for very expensive and time consuming experiments needs dedicated equipment, freezers, reagents and microscopes. These will will be used for the one purpose of 'growing' human stem cells in dishes to support research into diseases such as retinitis pigmentoa, age-related macular degeneration and other conditions needing new treatments. Testing can take place in laboratory conditions before the move to human testing, enabling our scientists to move away from using animals in research. This is an amazing gift which will hugely benefit our group!
05 October congratulatlions to Dr Ellie Keeling. Her paper relating to the effect of an unhealthy diet on vision (see 28 March below) has been selected as the overall winner of the overall Academy of Medical Sciences Research Prize.
Congratulaltions to Dr Ellie Keeling on the publication of a paper relating to age-related macular degeneration detailing how an accumulation of Lipofuscin (undegraded photoreceptors) in the retina is characteristic of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Details of her research here.
21 September It’s National Eye Health Week (21 – 27 September). Prof Parwez Hossain and team in Southampton Eye Unit have a paper published relating to contact lens-related microbial keratitis (CLMK) which causes real problems for patients and healthcare services. Do read and share the key messages in this paper published in BMJ Open Ophalmology.
20 August 2020 Now advertising to recruit a PhD student for the work mentioned below. Please apply through this link if you feel this research would suit your skills.
28 July 2020 Congratulations to Dr Arjuna Ratnayaka who has been awarded £100,000 from the UK Macular Society @MacularSociety to recruit a PhD student to study how pathogenic macromolecules aggregate inside retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in the eye. These high-molecular-weight compounds cause cellular dysfunction, resulting in eventual atrophy of RPE cells associated with irreplaceable loss of overlying photoreceptors.
The PhD studentship, which will commence in the autumn, will study how these toxic macromolecules form, and whether boosting the cells’ proteolytic response can prevent RPE damage. Potential findings from this study could pave the way for developing new treatments for common blinding conditions such as age-related macular disease (AMD) as well as some rare retinal dystrophies.
24 July 2020 Sharing the latest Clinical Research Wessex (CRN) newletter. Dan Osborne, one of our Research Orthoptists has shared details of his project studying children with amblyopia (lazy eye). He and Jay Self are hoping to encourage a 'testing at home' for these children to save numerous visits to clinic and time off work for parents and carers.
20 July 2020 Paper published regarding study into Sorsby Fundus Dystrophy., a rare autosomal dominant disease of the macula. Congratulations to our vision science team, colleagues in Finland and Dr Jenny Dewing in particular who has really brought this project forward.
03 June 2020 Worldwide open access to Publication of Management of nystagmus in children: a review of the literature and current practice in UK specialist services paper. PubMed
30 March 2020 Well done Dr Ellie Keeling on publication of a paper detailing how an unhealthy diet can affect the eyes of patients with age-related macular degeneration PubMed
24 January 2020 Paper published in The Lancet reflecting results of a trial into Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. Shared on Youtube too.Eplerenone has been used to treat patients but has side effects for some. After completion of the VICI study it is recommended that the drug is no longer prescribed for this condition as there are no benefits to be seen.
26 December 2019 Publication of a paper in PubMed detailing how children with nystagmus get very variable support and information currently in the UK. Jay Self and his team are keen to standardise the management and care for these children in a series of papers aimed to highlight the problem.
13 August 2019 Congratulations to Dan Osborne, who works as a research orthoptist in the paediatric clinic in Southampton Eye Unit, on being awarded a HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship 2019. Dan is the first orthoptist to receive this funding. He was also the winner of the first Gift of Sight Clinical Award and we'll look forward to following his career.
4 June 2019 Amazing new procedure for corneal transplants reported by Professor Parwez Hossain. Link to press release here.
28 March 2019 Congratulations to our team on the publication of a paper linking an unhealthy diet with eye disease.
A video from Dr Helena Lee, Associate Professor of Opthalmology.
Helena Lee was recently a speaker at a hugely successful new TED-style event, AMSlive, organised by The Academy of Medical Sciences. We are delighted to share her talk here.
Research funding for study into early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Professor Andrew Lotery has been successful grant application to the Wellcome Trust
The five-year research project will teach computers to analyse high resolution images of the inside of the eye to identify what eye changes appear in patients with AMD and identify the structural changes that lead to and are associated with cell degeneration in the retina in patients with early AMD.
A recent press release which can be viewed here gives details of a clinical trial which is taking place in Southampton.
Stargardt’s disease, also known as Stargardt‘s macular dystrophy, affects the area of the retina called the macula and causes a reduction in central vision.
It is the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration and affects around one in 10,000 children who suffer a gradual decline in vision which leads to blindness in adulthood. The press release gives full details.
The study has been funded by the European Union.
If you would like to register your interest in this project please send an email to EyeResearch@uhs.nhs.uk
Albinism and Age-related macular degeneration
Mr Jay Self (Consultant Ophthalmologist) and members of the vision research team are interested in discovering why, to their knowledge, Albinism and Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have never been seen in the same patient, although AMD affects 1/3 of people over the age of 75.
Also the retina loses function in older animals with Albinism but, apparently, not in humans.
If anyone reading this post is aged over 60 and has Albinism, please contact Jay by email at J.E.Self@soton.ac.uk . If you know anyone who meets this criteria please do share our message with them and ask them to make contact with Jay. Thank you.
Congratulations to Mr Parwez Hossain
on being part of a team who won an award for participation in an interfaculty collaboration within the University of Southampton’s Network for AntiMicrobial Resistance & Infection Prevention (NAMRIP). The participants are from Electronic Engineering; Molecular Microbiology; Ophthalmology (Eye Unit) and Southampton University NHS Hospital Trust. It has produced a flourishing collaboration with Lighthouse in Kenya, and with the Christian Medical College (Vellore, India). The collaboration has developed a novel portable device, using the application of a technology known as electrical impedance, to identify different types of bacteria with no sample preparation and ‘instant’ detection from, literally, a drop of specimen.
Patients who attend Southampton Eye Unit are drawn from the whole of Hampshire and community support is very much appreciated.
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If you would like to become involved or simply want to find out more please make contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Ailsa Walter on 02380 599073.