UK-Wide Ophthalmology Clinical Research Strategy launched

Ophthalmology is a rapidly growing research area in the UK recruiting 10-15,000 patients to research trials annually and involving most NHS Trusts. Ophthalmology has the largest demand on outpatient departments in the country and this is increasing.

The UK-wide Ophthalmology Clinical Research Strategy will help tailor research to meet this demand, exploring the areas of unmet need in the population and facilitating a non-commercial and commercial ‘research pipeline’ of therapies and technologies, which should encourage more coordinated funding streams.

The Strategy is managed by an Executive Board which is chaired by Professor Rupert Bourne, NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Ophthalmology.


Light Trial Published

The LIGHT trial has been published in The Lancet.

This landmark trial, for which Prof Bourne was a site principal investigator, looks at treating glaucoma and ocular hypertension with Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty as an initial therapy instead of the standard treatment of eyedrop medications. Selective laser trabeculoplasty was associated with lower cost, good clinical outcomes, with lower symptom scores, and drop-freedom for most patients and should be offered as an alternative to intraocular pressure-lowering drops.

Global Vision Database Funding

The Global Vision Database has been funded for another 5 years

Recently generous funding by Brien Holden Vision Institute, Fondation Théa, Fred Hollows Foundation, Heidelberg University, Sightsavers, and Lions Club International Foundation has meant the group can continue its activities to maintain the Global Vision Database and provide global updates on prevalence of vision loss.

The Vision Loss Expert Group, an international collaboration of more than 100 ophthalmologists and optometrists with an interest in ophthalmic epidemiology, published the global, regional and country estimates for vision loss by cause for 2010 and then for 2015 with a forecast to 2020 in The Lancet Global Health and the British Journal of Ophthalmology. A collaboration with The International Agency for Prevention of Blindness meant that these data became available to any internet user by accessing the maps of the Vision Atlas ( Now over a decade old, the group continues to work closely with The Global Burden of Disease Study team as the reference group for vision loss.

Immediate plans are for a release of new estimates of vision loss prevalence by cause in 2020 but the project will also focus on risk factors for vision loss and modelling of its impact and the tracking of emerging causes such as myopic macular degeneration.

Professor Rupert Bourne, coordinator for the project said “I am delighted to see the support from eye care organisations for the group’s work. The renewed funding will allow us to continue providing robust and reliable data on the global prevalence and causes of blindness and vision impairment”.

Cambridge Eye Research Centre (CERC) Launch

The Cambridge Eye Research Centre was launched publicly on 22 January at Addenbrookes Hospital.

The wide range of technologically innovative research studies were displayed to patients, staff and invited guests that included Dame Mary Archer who gave the opening address and Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, who closed the meeting.

Prof Bourne directs CERC and further information about its activities can be found at:

Marie-Curie Fellow Grant

Rupert Bourne awarded a Marie-Curie Fellow grant from the European Commission

This grant is supporting Professor Nicolas Leveziel from University of Poitiers to work with Prof Bourne’s epidemiology group at Anglia Ruskin University to analyse vision loss data across Europe.