Fight for Sight fund study to create special glasses for people with keratoconus

11 May 20

written by:

Róisín Treacy

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A close-up picture of a pair of glasses.

A Fight for Sight funded research study will work to create spectacle lenses for people with the eye disease keratoconus.

This project, which is co-funded by the Keratoconus Self-Help and Support Association(KC Group) and is taking place at the University of Liverpool, aims to create special glasses that correct irregular astigmatism for people with keratoconus, who struggle during the times when they cannot wear their contact lenses, for example if they have an eye infection, abrasion or stye. The condition is estimated to affect between one in 500 to 2,000 people worldwide.

Keratoconus is a rare eye condition which causes distorted vision that cannot be corrected by current spectacle lens manufacturing techniques, meaning that patients are entirely dependent on contact lenses or in serious cases, corneal transplants, in order to be able to have reasonably clear vision.

It is hoped that the outcome of this project will lead to a major step forward in the current prescription system for those living with keratoconus.

The project is being led by University of Liverpool biomedical engineer Dr Ahmed Abass. He said: “We have already developed a proof of concept spectacle lens which can be used by kerataconic patients. This funding from Fight for Sight and the Keratoconus Group UK will be used to take forward the technology and to trial it in a clinical setting. This is an important next step and we hope the outcome of this project will be to take the technology forward as a clinical product, potentially leading to a major step forward in the current prescription system for patients.”

Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, Sherine Krause said: “We’re delighted to be funding this valuable research project, which could help bring forward the development of a new type of corrective spectacle for those living with keratoconus. We know that people with advanced keratoconus find difficulty in their daily life during the times when they cannot wear their contact lenses, so we look forward to seeing the results from Dr Ahmed’s clinical trial.”

Chairman of the KC Group, David Gable said: “The severity of the change from wearing contact lenses to not, is greatly underestimated. One goes from a normal functioning member of society to a dependent individual who, if it were permanent, would qualify for partially sighted benefits. If these lenses can improve acuity by one or two lines on the snellen chart, they have the power to change lives.”

Dr Vito Romano, consultant ophthalmic surgeon, and Andrew Tompkin, head of optometry at St. Paul’s Eye Unit at Royal Liverpool University Hospital are also involved in the project.

A man standing in front of a power point presentation with a clicker in his hand.
Dr Ahmed Abass
Read more about keratoconus