COVID-19 put a stop to glaucoma research. But it hasn’t stopped our fight against glaucoma. We need your help now to kick start research to end preventable glaucoma sight loss.
Glaucoma UK’s research grants are often vital stepping stones on the research pathway. They frequently provide funding that enables researchers to undertake projects that generate the preliminary data and evidence needed to support applications for major research awards. These research projects often cost many millions and could not be funded by Glaucoma UK alone. In these cases, the combination of early support from Glaucoma UK and subsequent funding leads to important NHS policy changes affecting glaucoma patients.
Though COVID-19 has closed laboratories and diverted funding to studies relating to the pandemic, Glaucoma UK has still recently succeeded in agreeing funding for three new research projects with a combined investment of £250,000.
You could say Glaucoma UK’s initial grant was an investment that led to a £2 million National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) grant. The initial funding from Glaucoma UK was an essential stepping stone in achieving this.”
As a Glaucoma UK trustee and a consultant ophthalmologist whose project has received a Glaucoma UK research grant, let me start by thanking you. Your support funds our sight-saving services and research, and we couldn’t do it without you.
The Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study (TAGS) for which I was the lead researcher, is a perfect example of this model working. The study aims to identify the best initial treatment for people presenting with advanced glaucoma. These people are the ones most likely to go blind from glaucoma in their lifetime. I was awarded the Glaucoma UK grant to run a pilot study on patients’ thoughts about advanced glaucoma and their concerns about participating in a clinical trial. The results provided crucial data and insight into what matters to patients being recruited to research projects and identified potential barriers to their participation. This information was built into our trial design, and we were successful in securing a further £2 million grant to undertake the study.
Undertaking glaucoma research was difficult even before the pandemic hit. Ophthalmologists face many barriers including pressure to prioritise our clinical work. Securing funding is also a challenge. To just register a research project with an NHS trust can cost several thousand pounds even before any research has started. Funding is then needed on top of that for equipment, support staff and venue costs.
Professor Anthony King
Consultant Ophthalmologist, Nottingham University Hospital
Glaucoma UK trustee
Professor King’s landmark trial addressed one of the most important questions for people diagnosed with late-stage glaucoma – what is the best initial treatment?
This significant research was made possible through funding from Glaucoma UK for an initial study to understand patients’ views on participating in glaucoma surgery trials. The results of the trial provide important evidence for clinicians to help them guide patients to make the best treatment choices.