Identifying the impact of glare in albinism and infantile nystagmus

24 June 22

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Researchers are investigating the impact of glare on young children with albinism to help ease important day-to-day tasks like reading.

Jointly funded with Nystagmus Network, our team of researchers at the University of Leicester will be investigating glare in patients with infantile nystagmus, a sight loss condition that causes involuntary movements of the eye.  

People with nystagmus often experience glare, but this has not been researched thoroughly despite the discomfort it can cause and the impact it has on reading.  

Led by Dr Frank Proudlock, the study will measure the effect of glare by testing reading overlays, tinted contact lenses and other means.

Although there are several devices that doctors use to measure glare in eye clinics, few of them have been tested as to how well they measure glare in nystagmus. Also, it is very difficult to measure glare in young children.

The team at University of Leicester will study four groups of people: people with albinism; people with idiopathic infantile nystagmus; people with achromatopsia; and, people without nystagmus.

The team hopes the study will help doctors to make reliable measurement of glare in people with infantile nystagmus, especially in young children.

Understanding how glare can affect reading in people with infantile nystagmus and ways of managing it will help provide useful information to parents, teachers, doctors and patients to come up with the best solutions for reading at home, work and at school or university.

Keith Valentine, Fight for Sight CEO said:

“We’re pleased to continue our important partnership with the Nystagmus Network, funding these vital projects. With one person in every 1,500 people having nystagmus, it’s vital that we fund research that can help improve lives and make sure children and adults with nystagmus live their lives to the fullest.”

There is currently no cure for nystagmus.

Albinism in the UK and beyond

Prevalence of albinism is estimated at one in 5,000 although in some African communities this may be as high as one in 1,000. Education is particularly challenging in many developing countries for children with albinism where persecution and social exclusion are common. According to a recent study, many albinos in sub-Saharan Africa also suffer from a lack of access to health care.

Other health issues affecting people with albinism include skin cancer and photophobia.