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A Sharper Focus on Eye Research: The Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership

Posted Nov 16 2013 10:06pm
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Vision loss and dysfunction affects almost 300 million people worldwide. Oddly enough, many people live with vision problems and either cannot or will not correct them. But ignoring vision and eye health is a big mistake that could cost many their eyesight. In fact, one such condition, myopia, will eventually cause blindness if it worsens without any medical intervention.

Recently, a report was released based on a survey conducted between May and July of 2012. The survey involved more than 2,220 people and generated 4,461 questions. Key organisations all across the sight loss and vision industry have been working hard to find out what those afflicted with vision problems want most.

Every day, 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight. Alarming? It is.

In fact, social research shows that the sense that people fear losing the most is sight loss. While a lot is being done in the field of research to help prevent loss of eyesight, there are still a lot of questions that remain unanswered.

Researchers still don’t have a firm grasp on what causes some eye disorders, like myopia, though there are several competing hypotheses. For people suffering from these disorders, right now, the best solution is to visit Lenstore , or another retailer, and try compensatory solutions like corrective lenses. But this isn’t a permanent solution.

A permanent solution involves arresting the deterioration of vision and reversing it. For now, however, 12 different categories of eye disease and conditions have been collated through research findings. The information will be used to ensure that future research targets areas that most people living with sight loss want addressed.

The partnership is formed by Fight for Sight, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology, the College of  Optometrists, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the UK Vision Strategy, and Vision 2020.

Anita Lightstone, Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK and Programme Director of the UK Vision Strategy commented, “This project is one of the first of its kind to ensure that both the public and clinicians have a say on what they think are the most important areas for research to focus on. We hope that existing research funders from a range of sectors will take note of this and will use these research priorities to support their funding decisions.”

Indeed, it is a long, but important road that organisations have to travel down.

1. : The first step was to establish the Sight and Loss Vision PSP. This set the stage for everything. The project proposal was finalised and funding was secured in 2012. Once the protocol was agreed upon, and project management and oversight arrangements confirmed, it was launched on April 19th 2012.

2. : Next, a survey opened up on May 1st and ran through July of 2012. This survey attempted to gather vital information about people living with vision disorders as well as generate questions about future research in eye health.

3. : Finally, the third stage consists of data assessment. A data assessment group has been established and protocols agreed upon. Questions have been grouped based on eye disease and rewritten in PICO format. All duplicates were removed and all questions collated.

4. : Stage four consists of interim prioritisation where all questions were collated and ranked according to importance. The rankings were combined to produce a short list of just 30 questions per category.

5. : The fifth stage, final prioritisation, attempted to distil the questions still further, allowing a balanced mix of patients, relatives, carers, members of organisations, eye health professionals, and neutral facilitators participate in the process.

: This article is contributed by Roger Anderson, who is enthusiastic about vision and eye care. He loves sharing his research on eye health and eye technology blogs.

 

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