Fight for Sight awards new grants for 13 vital eye research projects


Fight for Sight partners with nine different organizations to fund impactful and innovative research

Fight for Sight, the leading eye research charity, has awarded grants totaling over £180,000 for thirteen vital research projects in partnership with nine different organizations. Fight for Sight has doubled its partnership working from the previous year, to further extend their impact and support for innovative research.

New funds have been awarded to support research in these key areas:

Dementia and visual impairment:

For the first time, Fight for Sight and Alzheimer’s Research UK have teamed up to fund research into sight loss and dementia as many people with neurodegenerative diseases have problems with their vision. Pearse Keane from UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology will aim to detect Alzheimer’s disease through images of the retina. Working with researchers from Moorfields, who will analyze a database of over 2 million eye scans, the team will identify features in the scans which are common to people who have developed a neurodegenerative disease. The longer term aim is to develop a screening tool for earlier detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The research will also enable a better understanding of why people with neurodegenerative diseases have problems with their vision.

Dementia and age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

Fight for Sight and Alzheimer’s Research UK are also jointly funding a project being led by Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka from the University of Southampton. Both Alzheimer’s disease and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have been linked with a group of misfolded proteins called amyloid beta (Aβ). The aim of this research is to study how Aβ proteins in the vitreous, the substance that fills the center of the eye, change with age and disease progression. The research team will collect vitreous samples from AMD patients, screen for changes in Aβ levels and compare the results to those from healthy individuals. This research could help further prove that changes to retinal Aβ levels may be an effective biomarker for high-risk individuals likely to develop AMD before the actual symptoms of sight loss occur.

Birdshot uveitis:

Fight for Sight is partnering with Birdshot Uveitis Society to fund Professor Alastair Denniston’s research into birdshot chorioretinopathy which is taking place at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. The world’s first National Birdshot Biobank and Registry has been created, which is enabling researchers and clinicians to work towards better outcomes for birdshot treatments. Professor Denniston will study the genetic makeup of birdshot patients to understand the causes of the condition and develop ways to predict disease progression.


Fight for Sight and International Glaucoma Association are supporting a research project by Professor Colin Willoughby from Ulster University. Using the Treatment of Advance Glaucoma Study (TAGS), which has recruited over 450 patients, Professor Willoughby will explore the genetics of patients with advanced glaucoma. His team will provide predictive testing to improve early diagnosis. This will identify patients at risk of progression and may help to explain why the disease differs between different ethnic groups.

Fight for Sight will also fund a project led by Dr Andrew Osbourne from the University of Cambridge, whose objective will be to improve our understanding of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling in human retinal tissue. BDNF and its receptor, tropomyosin-related kinase-B (TrkB), help maintain the survival of retinal ganglion cells, which gradually die, leading to sight loss and eventually blindness. This research could help treat patients with progressive glaucoma, particularly those who receive treatment to lower intra-ocular eye pressure yet still experience deterioration of their vision.

Retinal vascular disease:

Fight for Sight in partnership with National Eye Research Centre is funding Dr Adam Dubis from Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to create a database of normal eye blood flow features. This will define a range of healthy blood flow so that abnormal blood flow can be better identified. This information could result in improved diagnostic markers and potentially better treatments and patient management.

Leber hereditary optic neuropathy:

Fight for Sight and Thomas Pocklington Trust are jointly funding Dr Patrick Yu Wai Man at the University of Cambridge. His research will make use of functional MRI to get high-resolution “real time” images of the visual pathways from the eye all the way back to the vision centres in the brain. Researchers will map out the chronological changes that occur along those pathways and in the brain after the onset of vision loss in individuals with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). The researchers will explore whether functional MRI could prove useful as an assessment tool in future treatment trials. The knowledge gained will also help provide more accurate counseling to patients with LHON.

Corneal and external eye conditions:

Fight for Sight has funded Dr Mohammed Al-Aqaba from The University of Nottingham. A healthy ocular surface relies on stem cells replenishing old and damaged cells. The research team have discovered novel receptors which could play a pivotal role in the maintenance of this process. The aim of this research is to characterise the structure of these novel receptors which play a role in the regulation of stem cells and the micro-environment around the cornea. The results could reveal the function of these receptors and their role in the prevention of blindness.

This latest round of Fight for Sight small grants also includes funding for the following projects:

  • Dr Maryse Bailly – funded in partnership with British Thyroid Foundation – A novel pathway regulating adipogenesis in Thyroid Eye Disease: characterization of spontaneous lipogenesis and validation of novel therapeutic targets
  • Dr Lee Mcilreavy – funded in partnership with Nystagmus Network – Diagnosing infantile nystagmus: a novel eye tracking approach
  • Dr Helen Griffiths – funded in partnership with Nystagmus Network – Nystagmus Stabilisation with Virtual Reality Technology
  • Dr Greg Elder – funded in partnership with Thomas Pocklington Trust and Esme’s Umbrella- Visual hallucinations in Charles Bonnet Syndrome: a neuroimaging comparison study with non-hallucinating control individuals
  • Miss Swan Kang – funded in partnership with Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust – Characterization of anterior segment vasculature in thyroid eye disease using optical coherence tomography angiography

The next Fight for Sight small grants round opens for applications in May 2018 – keep an eye on the Fight for Sight web site for details:

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No strategies exist to lower glaucoma risk; healthy habits offer starting point

February 04, 2018

Although there are no proven strategies to prevent glaucoma, it is a subject worth discussing—particularly with the current renaissance that glaucoma is experiencing.

Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, professor of ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, discussed environmental risk factors for glaucoma and pointed out there are no proven strategies to prevent the disease. He also offered some strategy suggestions.

“If we had a proven strategy to prevent glaucoma, even it worked by 10%, it would be an incredible savings to society in terms of cost and reduced visual disabilities,” Dr. Pasquale said.

Surprisingly, there are some randomized controlled trials that focus on glaucoma prevention, including studies of anthocyanins, antioxidants, and ginkgo biloba. A study of anthocyanins in particular showed a favorable effect, but Dr. Pasquale pointed out that all of these were small studies.

Six suggestions

Dr. Pasquale emphasized that there is not any particular proven strategy to prevent glaucoma, but he shared six suggestions that show promise:

  1. Eat many green, leafy vegetables. “These are a great source of nitrates that can be converted into nitric oxide,” Dr. Pasquale said. “In primary open-angle glaucoma, there is impaired nitric oxide signaling.” There are drugs in development that will target this highly druggable pathway, he added.

  1. Protect the eyes from the sun starting at an early age. “There is considerable evidence that sunlight reflected off water and snow may be associated with an increased risk of exfoliation syndrome,” Dr. Pasquale said. “A good strategy to start in your younger years is to protect your eyes from the sun.”

  1. Maintain good dental health. This strategy may sound odd initially, but there is a theory that periodontal disease could trigger neuroinflammatory markers that reside in the base of the tooth and travel via the blood to the optic nerve. “At least two studies show that those with poor dental health had a greater open-angle glaucoma risk,” he said.

  1. Exercise in moderation. Moderate exercise is associated with a lower intraocular pressure (IOP), but vigorous exercise appears to be associated with primary open-angle glaucoma.

  1. People should see an ophthalmologist regularly, especially if there is a family history of glaucoma. Dr. Pasquale is involved with a NEIGHBORHOOD[VC1]  consortium focused on finding common gene variants for glaucoma. “We hope this effort will translate into people finding out earlier if they are at an increased risk for glaucoma,” Dr. Pasquale said.

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight. A higher body weight and body mass index are associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes risk. They could also lead to an elevated IOP. However, someone who is thin, has a low body mass index, low blood pressure, and cold hands and feet could have a disturbed autoregulation, leading to an increased risk of normal tension glaucoma.

    Two habits to avoid

    Dr. Pasquale also shared two habits to avoid to lower one’s risk for glaucoma. First, although a small or moderate amount of coffee consumption is okay, drinking a large amount on a regular basis appears to raise the risk for glaucoma.

    Second, inverted head postures as performed in yoga are probably not a good idea. “IOPs measured during these postures have been documented to be quite high,” Dr. Pasquale. “There are plenty of other yoga exercises that people could benefit from that are not associated with such marked increase in IOP.”

    Sharing these recommendations with patients can be a response to their strong interest in doing something to help control their disease or modify their disease risk, Dr. Pasquale said. However, with all the different forms of glaucoma, the strategies may not work for everyone.

    Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO


    This article was adapted from a presentation that Dr. Pasquale delivered during Glaucoma Subspecialty Day held prior to the 2017 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. Dr. Pasquale has no financial disclosures relevant to his presentation.

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American Optometric Association

Academy 2018 San Antonio

Sponsored By: American Academy of Optometry

November 7 – 10, 2018

San Antonio, Texas


To provide the highest quality continuing education and the most current vision science research, the Academy’s annual meeting includes nearly 300 hours of Lectures & Workshops, symposia, and scientific lecture and poster presentations over 4 days. The Academy’s annual meeting provides a diverse array of groundbreaking research in optometry and vision science and relevant education on the latest practices. The annual meeting also features an extensive exhibit hall, with over 200 booths displaying a variety of optometric products and services. The meeting is open to optometrists, vision scientists, ophthalmologists, students, and anyone else who may be interested in optometric continuing education and research.


Phone: 321/710-3937

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Preparing for changes in ophthalmology facing changes in ophthalmology practice

by Michelle Stephenson
EyeWorld Contributing Writer

Physicians discuss how they’re addressing practice today

Ophthalmologists are under increasing pressure to see more and more patients and provide optimal outcomes, while also navigating new and complex rules and regulations. “Ophthalmology is in an extraordinary state of flux right now, and our increasing caseloads are making it very hard to stay on top of practice management,” said Eric Donnenfeld, MD, Rockville Centre, New York. “The rules and regulations that have gone into effect have made it almost impossible for ophthalmologists to fulfill all of the obligations that the government is asking of us while keeping up a good clinical practice.” Ophthalmologists have traditionally been paid a fee for services rather than outcomes, which incentivizes volume. However, recent federal and private policies have turned to a “pay-for-performance” model. Pay for performance According to John Hovanesian, MD, Laguna Hills, California, healthcare is moving toward physicians being paid for outcomes rather than for services. “The push is to force doctors to assume the risk of caring for patients,” he said. “Currently, the risk of taking care of a complicated patient is on the health insurance company. They pay for whatever care the patient needs. To a small extent, we assume risk when we do surgery because there is a certain amount of postoperative care included, and complicated patients require more time. In general, there’s going to be a shift toward more of that, so practices need to know the real costs of taking care of their patient population. If you’re going to negotiate a contract that doesn’t pay you a fee per service, you need to know what your outcomes are likely to be.” Dr. Hovanesian noted that this has big implications for electronic health record (EHR) systems. “For the past 10 years, we have been working for the EHR system, and we need to change it around so that the EHR system works for us,” he said. Dr. Donnenfeld agreed. “Outcomes will be crucial, and documenting those outcomes will be equally crucial. You must have a place where you can document that you are providing good outcomes, and that’s where EHR systems are going to play a bigger role,” he said. According to Drs. Donnenfeld and Hovanesian, MDbackline and Veracity (Temple, Texas) are two examples of new systems that work for ophthalmologists. For more information about these systems, see “Update on EHR” on page 18 of this issue of EyeWorld. EHR Electronic health records have become an important part of ophthalmology practice, and they have advantages and disadvantages. “I was unhappy that I was forced to move into an area that I was uncomfortable with,” Dr. Donnenfeld said. “That said, EHR systems have become an important part of our practice, and I now enjoy the freedom that they give me to provide patient care. They have become easier to use and allow us to mine data and analyze results in a meaningful way. At first, they were more difficult to use, but now we have information in our EHR where we can bring findings together, collate data, and create better spreadsheets for patient care.” Dr. Donnenfeld noted that Veracity and MDbackline allow ophthalmologists to practice in a smarter, more efficient way and increase patient satisfaction and patient outcomes. Additionally, they can help grow practices. “We view these changes in healthcare as sometimes difficult but important, and they are something that we all need to embrace,” he said. Patient shared billing opportunities In recent years, reimbursement rates have declined, making patient shared billing opportunities important for practices. “We don’t expect reimbursement rates to go in the opposite direction for the foreseeable future, but the opportunity to see patients for premium services is becoming more and more robust,” Dr. Donnenfeld said. “As the technologies that are associated with premium services, such as LASIK, multifocal IOLs, toric IOLs, and laser cataract surgery, become more and more effective, there’s an increased opportunity and certainly an increased demand for these services. This has changed dramatically over the past several years.” Vance Thompson, MD, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said this has been an area of tremendous growth since cataract surgery has become a powerful refractive procedure. “This restores clarity and restores reading range and allows patients the opportunity to have refractive cataract surgery and function without glasses,” he said. “Because patients’ insurance will often pay for the therapeutic side of cataract surgery and patients are able to invest in the elective side of refractive cataract surgery, it can become complicated for patients unless you have clear forms and your staff is comfortable with explaining what could sound like a complicated offering to patients.” As practices are increasing their patient loads, it is difficult to educate patients because there are many options that take time to explain. “Sometimes we just don’t have the time to explore optional cost extras like premium lenses,” Dr. Hovanesian said. “There are many great surgeons who do a fabulous job for their patients, but they are so geared up for doing high-volume surgery that they don’t have the time to communicate about premium options with patients. So their adoption rate of those is low, and it’s hard to overcome the challenge of being short on time.” Mega practices To overcome some of these difficulties, some practices are joining together or are joining hospitals to become mega practices. This allows within-practice referrals as well as economic benefits. “There’s a strong movement over the last several months to private equity, forming mega practices that have economies of scale and are willing to negotiate contracts that beforehand would be impossible for individual practices to provide,” Dr. Donnenfeld said. “They also bring in revenue that allows the practice to grow and develop new opportunities that would not have been available previously. I see a strong movement toward practices coming together.” Well-educated patients Added to the mix are patients who are better educated and informed than ever before. “This is a good thing, but it’s important to be prepared,” Dr. Thompson said. “There are so many options these days with advancements in technology. It’s important to be fully educated yourself. My practice has adapted by focusing even more effort on educating ourselves and our staff along with our referring doctors. We put a lot of effort into educating patients through newsletters, e-mails, webinars, and symposia.” Editors’ note: Dr. Hovanesian has financial interests with MDbackline and Veracity. Dr. Thompson has financial interests with Veracity. Dr. Donnenfeld has no financial interests related to his comments.

Contact information Donnenfeld: Hovanesian: Thompson:


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The Cost of Reusable vs. Disposable Laryngoscopes



August 8, 2012 – Dewayne Whitener, Performance Improvement Specialist, Southeast Health Southeast Health, a 265 bed hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, began an investigation of our hospital’s process for cleaning re-usable laryngoscope blades and handles in December 2011. At the time, Southeast was sterilizing the re-usable laryngoscope blades, but not the re-usable laryngoscope handles. After reviewing recent articles regarding the risk of cross-contamination posed by laryngoscope handles the Joint Commission’s guidelines on reprocessing of laryngoscope blades, Southeast Health determined the best and safest practice would be to sterilize both laryngoscope blades and handles to limit the risk for cross-contamination. In evaluating the ability to sterilize reusable handles, we realized the following challenges: – Our inventory of handles would need to increase 200-300% to accommodate sterilization cycles. – The cost of sterilizing both handles & blades was determined to be costly and time consuming. – Improper cleaning and reassembly would result in significant risks if not done properly – Cleaning laryngoscope blades and handles diminished the light quality and reliability over time, reducing first time intubation success rates. Southeast Health became aware of a single-use blade and handle combination product from Flexicare. After evaluating the product quality and financial impact, the following recommendation was made. Evaluation of Re-useable Laryngoscopes & Single-Use Laryngoscopes RECOMMENDATION 12/2011: After meeting with the OR, Anesthesia, Aneshtesia Supply, and Central Sterile, the decision was made to switch to Single-Use Laryngoscopes Blades and Handles in December 2011. Below are some of the issues that helped drive this conversion. 1. Patient Safety – Reprocessing fiber optic laryngoscope handles resulted in high failure rates with reusable product. Device failure rates approached 50% in December because of reprocessing. Anesthesiologists and CRNA’s insisted patient safety be a top consideration in moving to a disposable laryngoscope system.. The single-use laryngoscope blade and handle are individually packaged and new every time, basically eliminated concerns of cross-contamination and product reliability. 2. Costs – After a one week exhaustive study, surprisingly reprocessing cost were found to be much higher than the cost of a single-use laryngoscope blade and handle combination ($17.12 per intubation). On the following page is detailed breakdown of the costs associated with reprocessing re-useable laryngoscopes blades and handles, which is higher than the cost of the disposable system. In addition, using reusables would require we double or triple our number of laryngoscope handles in inventory. 3. Cleaning & Sterilization – We were NOT cleaning the handles according to required procedures. Per the instructions I received from the manufacturer, we have to clean the handles either by Autoclave or Cold Soak Solutions. This requires batteries to be removed before cleaning then reinserted after a long drying period. Additional handles will need to be purchased to support the OR’s requirements. 4. Clinical Acceptance: – The Single-Use laryngoscope blades and handles from Flexicare offer an LED light that is brighter than what we had been using, resulting in better first attempt intubation success rates. After cleaning and drying, our current re-useable laryngoscopes have started to fail. (corrosion on contacts, etc.). Our Respiratory Therapy Department, having only 6% of the volume of the OR, recently had to replace all of the laryngoscope handles in their inventory. 5. Risk of Hospital Acquired Infection – The estimated cost of 1 Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) is estimated at $40,000 in unreimbursed hospital expense. With reusable laryngoscopes, there is a risk of cross-contamination if products are not cleaned properly. If the hospital incurs just one HAI per year, the cost of utilizing reusable laryngoscopes rises to $106,548 or $27.40 average cost per intubation.

SoutheastHealth – 1701 Lacey Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 –



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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from MDP!!!


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Our Story

Medical Device Purchase started as a father-son business in 2009 with the goal of revolutionizing the purchase process in the eye care industry.  For years our brand struggled as we competed against companies with far more capital, experience, and connections who wanted to keep things status quo.  In other words, they wanted to maintain a marketplace that made it harder for smaller companies to compete.

The company took a huge blow earlier this year when our co-founder Dr. AK Ray suddenly passed away in February this year.  While the company continues to recover, MDP moves forward as a company that is all about providing value to its clients.  Our motivation is not financial greed, but to provide a better purchasing alternative for healthcare providers.  Medical Device Purchase will continue to take the fight to lower healthcare costs by taking on the inefficient and backward entities of the surgical instrument world in order to create a more free and open market for everyone in the healthcare industry.

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