More than 2 million people in the UK live with a level of sight loss that is severe enough to impact their day-to-day life. When we look at why these people have developed sight loss, there are 4 eye diseases that stand out. Here’s the low down on each:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
What is AMD: There are two types of AMD, Wet and Dry.
AMD is a common eye disease that affects the middle part of your vision (central vision). People with AMD do not completely lose all vision, but it can make everyday life challenging as your sight is blurred or distorted. In advanced cases you can lose all middle vision.
Why do people get AMD: AMD is most prevalent in people over the age of 50. It has been linked to health and lifestyles choices such as high blood pressure, smoking, being overweight, or it can also be genetic.
How do you treat AMD: There is currently no treatment for Dry AMD. Wet AMD can be treated with regular eye injections or a light treatment called “photodynamic therapy”.
What is NERC doing to treat/prevent AMD: Your donations are funding work by Dr Xinhua Shu at Glasgow Caledonian University into new therapeutic strategies to halt the progression of AMD and a research project led by Dr Mei Chen at Queen’s University Belfast which is investigating the role of inflammation in causing dry AMD.
Learn more about AMD
What are cataracts: A cataract is the clouding of the lens at the front of your eye causing your vision to become cloudy and misty.
Why do people get cataracts: Cataracts can be caused by a variety of factors: aging, eye injury, eye surgery, other eye conditions or diabetes.
How do you treat cataracts: Mild cataracts can be helped by stronger glasses. However, most cataracts get progressively worse with age and surgery is usually recommended when your vision loss starts to impede on daily living.
What is NERC doing to treat cataracts: We funded a study which is seeking to discover how cholesterol-related molecules increase lens transparency in the nuclear region of the lens where age-related cataracts form. Learn more.
Learn more about cataracts
What is Glaucoma: Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged.
Why do people get Glaucoma: Glaucoma is usually (but not always) the result of a build-up of fluid in the front part of the eye which increases pressure and damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.
How do you treat Glaucoma: Eye drops, laser treatment and surgery are all options for –treating glaucoma. However, none of these can reverse the existing damage that glaucoma has created.
What is NERC doing to prevent/treat glaucoma: With NERC funding and support, Dr Colin Chu and his team at the University of Bristol have successfully used a new method to switch off a particular gene in order to lower pressure in the eye to treat glaucoma. Read more.
Learn more about Glaucoma
What is Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes.
Why do people get Diabetic Retinopathy: It is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina) and can cause blindness if left untreated.
How do you treat Diabetic Retinopathy: Laser treatment, eye injections and eye surgery are all options for people with advanced diabetic retinopathy.
What is NERC doing to prevent/treat Diabetic Retinopathy: In 2017, a successful appeal by National Eye Research Centre provided funding for a major three year research project into diabetic retinopathy at the University of Nottingham, under the auspices of Professor David Bates. Learn more.
Learn more about Diabetic Retinopathy