The need for more eye research is clear. Every day, 250 people start to lose their sight to a range of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, ocular inflammatory disease and inherited retinal dystrophies. Current treatments are often invasive, distressing and rarely reverse sight loss already suffered.

Sadly, as our population ages and becomes more susceptible to sight loss triggers, such as obesity and diabetes, these numbers are set to grow, and dramatically so. Today, around two million people in the UK have a significant degree of sight loss. By 2050 that number is predicted to double to around four million. New emerging technologies are rapidly coming on-stream, such as stem cell research, immunotherapeutics and gene therapy, but we urgently need more people and more funding to push these forward.

Whilst most people fear losing their sight second only to a cancer diagnosis, less than 2% of medical research funding is directed at combatting sight loss and blindness. There is an urgent need to increase our research effort into eye disease and that work starts with finding our brightest research talent and directing it towards finding new treatments to prevent or reverse sight loss. That’s why National Eye Research Centre has launched its PhD Studentship appeal.

We aim to raise £70,000 to fund a PhD student through their three year study to discover and pull through the next generation of sight-saving treatments. This will not only help build our future research base but will also be the start of a satisfying career in ophthalmology for one of our brightest talents and the potential of hope for that ever-increasing number of people facing the terrifying prospect of sight loss. Please help us by making a donation now.