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The University of Southampton

New study maps priorities for UK eye care research

Published: 5 June 2024
Eye test being performed

A new study published in the journal Eye, surveyed 2,240 healthcare professionals, patients, carers, researchers and charity support workers to map out the top research priorities for ophthalmology in the UK.

The paper, which features University of Southampton’s Dr Jay Self as co-author, highlights glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, childhood vision loss, and short-sightedness as target study areas for the next five years. Jay is national chair of the NIHR paediatric and neuro-ophthalmology Clinical Study Group (CSG) and provided his expertise on this area of the study.

The UK Clinical Eye Research Strategy (CERS) group, led by Professor Rupert Bourne from Cambridge University Hospital and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) conducted the national study. The work updates the research priorities set by the James Lind Alliance (JLA) Sight and Vision Loss Priority Setting Partnership (SVLPSP) in 2013.

Jay Self

Despite active research and novel treatments introduced within ophthalmology, there are still unanswered questions about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of eye conditions and sight loss.

The study summarises that several areas of eye care should be prioritised for research in order to advance treatment and prevention in the UK. These include:

  • A focus on prevention strategies for cataract;
  • Advancements in microbial keratitis treatment of the cornea;
  • Enhanced integration of ophthalmic primary and secondary care;
  • Development and/or progression research for refractive error;
  • Early detection initiatives for childhood eye care diseases;
  • Improved treatment modalities for glaucoma;
  • Neuro-ophthalmology: Holistic approach to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment;
  • Innovative strategies for dry age-related macular degeneration;
  • Exploration of new treatments for inflammatory diseases such as uveitis.

Much of the work undertaken by the University of Southampton’s vision science team is already focused on these priority areas, so this alignment may help lead to exciting discoveries over the next five years.

Lead author Rupert Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology, said: “The results of this survey provide a crucial refresh of the most important research questions, a decade after the initial Priority Setting Partnership.

“This study sets the stage for focused research endeavours within ophthalmology, a specialty that faces substantial challenges but which remains vastly underfunded given the profound burden of eye diseases.”

Read the full paper here: The UK clinical eye research strategy: refreshing research priorities for clinical eye research in the UK | Eye (

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