Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies
This is a dedicated role, governed through a separate charitable trust (charity number: 1123188) with the specific purpose to advance education about glaucoma, and ensure that research is published. The current holder of the post is Professor David Garway-Heath who is the IGA Professor at the University of London's Institute of Ophthalmology.
To view research content issued in our IGA quarterly newsletters from 2010 -2017 please scroll to the bottom of this page.
2017 Research grants
The IGA works with a range of professional bodies to provide funding for glaucoma research. During 2016 to 2017 the IGA awarded £220,000 to help with the detection, diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Full details can be found on the links below:
UK and Eire Glaucoma Society, 30th September 2016
Royal College of Ophthalmologists, 3rd February 2017
Royal College of Nursing, 31st March 2017
The College of Optometrists 5th May 2017
"The IGA funding schemes have been instrumental in establishing and developing glaucoma research within Liverpool both in the clinic and laboratory. IGA funding provides a variety of grants including pump-priming funding to develop innovative ideas, and also to support junior ophthalmologists to participate in glaucoma research and become future leaders. Personally and within my research group we are extremely indebted to the support of the IGA. This funding has helped establish new datasets, experimental models and infrastructure which has already helped us secure larger funding from Research Councils. The glaucoma community in the UK is privileged to have the support of the IGA and I would like to thank you all for your continued support in tackling this significant eye disease." Professor Colin Willoughby, University of Liverpoool.
Here are some examples of the research we have funded:
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the Commonest Form of Glaucoma: University of Liverpool
A Liverpool based research project to improve treatments and quality of life for glaucoma patients. The IGA together with the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society (UKEGS) is funding research by Dr Neeru Vallabh of the University of Liverpool to understand the role mitochondrial defects and mutations play in the development of the commonest form of glaucoma: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).
Dr Vallabh explains: ‘Our lack of understanding of the causes of glaucoma is a major obstacle to the development of new therapeutic approaches for this significant condition. Identifying the role of mitochondrial defects and mutations in the development of glaucoma will increase our understanding of this common, sight-threatening condition.’
Patients’ and Carers’ Perspectives of Managing Glaucoma when Living with Dementia: University of Manchester
A joint research study with the Royal College of Nursing is being run by Professor Heather Waterman of the University of Manchester to better understand how people living with dementia manage a sight-threatening condition such as glaucoma. About one in four people who have severe visual impairment from glaucoma also have a diagnosis of dementia. It is more difficult to assess and treat glaucoma when people also live with dementia and together they compound feelings of distress and disorientation.
This study aims to support the development of clinical guidance on how glaucoma services can be improved to meet the needs of people living with dementia.
Evaluation of Virtual clinics for Glaucoma Care: Central Manchester University
A two-year joint study with UKEGS is being conducted by Robert Harper, Optometrist Consultant of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to evaluate patients’ and clinicians’ experiences of virtual monitoring clinics in the UK.
The past decade has seen different measures to monitor glaucoma patients with a number of NHS Trusts using ‘Virtual Clinics’ as part of the solution, where data is collected on the day a patient visits either a hospital or a community clinic, often using electronic patient records which are then analysed by an expert clinician without the patient being there. Very little is known about patients’ experiences and perceptions of virtual clinics, or about clinicians’ opinions of them and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust study will investigate this through online surveys, focus groups and interviews.
Robert Harper of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: ‘It is so fundamental to collate both the patient and practitioner viewpoints to inform the way in which we run our clinics and this virtual clinic research aims to address key deficiencies in information in this respect.’
Quality of life assessment in glaucoma patients undergoing glaucoma surgery: Nottingham University Hospital
The IGA, together with, UKEGS is funding research by Professor Anthony King of Nottingham University Hospital to profile the quality of life of glaucoma patients at different stages of treatment. The study will look at whether patients’ personalities affect the outcome of their glaucoma treatment and will allow comparisons between alternative glaucoma approaches. This will enable clinicians to include accurate information in discussions about surgical options available and in patient information about proposed treatments.
Professor King explains: ‘Quality of Life is a measure of the patient’s health and this is affected by the medical conditions from which they suffer and the treatments they experience. In glaucoma many patients require glaucoma surgery, and, in addition to undergoing an operation, this also results in frequent hospital visits and often a very intensive eye drop regime. Understanding the way glaucoma interventions impact on a patient’s quality of life and the different impacts of the various available interventions would be helpful in counselling patients prior to surgery and informing their expectations.’
Finding glaucoma in the high street – a pop up pilot project: College of Optometrists
Risk of visual impairment from glaucoma is greatest in those patients detected at a late stage of the disease. Also patients living in the most deprived areas of the UK, as estimated by postcode data, are predicted to be diagnosed with twice as much vision loss compared to those from the least deprived regions. The IGA together with the College of Optometrists is funding an 18 month research project in association with Deanna Taylor and Professor David Crabb of City University London, to hold pop up glaucoma testing clinics to see if public engagement or detection rate of suspect glaucoma is greater in ‘deprived’ areas, compared to more ‘prosperous’ areas.
Professor Crabb of City University London comments ‘Retail pop up booths in high streets and in shopping centres are common – we propose one for glaucoma! The idea is to move glaucoma detection to communities that we think are hard to reach. The IGA funding allows us to pilot the feasibility of glaucoma testing on the high street – literally!’
Please contact J.McCarthy@iga.org.uk if you would like more information on how to fund these research programmes.
To find out more about our research funding click on the links below for transcripts of the annual lectures provided by our guest speakers