Eye Matters Podcast

The Fight for Sight Podcast

Eye Research Matters explores the personal stories of people with sight loss and the latest breakthroughs in eye research. 

To share your story of living with sight loss, email info@fightforsight.org.uk.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Talking Assistive Technology with Dr Nasser Siabi, OBE

Keith chats about assistive technology with Dr Nasser Siabi, OBE. Nasser is the CEO of Microlink PC, which aims to provide disability management and assistive tech to the workplace. He was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his contribution to helping over 300,000 disabled people transition from education into work. In addition, he is a founding member of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) and part of the DWP Disability Employer Engagement steering group. 

Nasser is one of five brothers, four of whom have the eye condition keratoconus. 

Building Resilience with Paralympian Darren Harris

Darren Harris is England's most-capped blind footballer, a dual Paralympian, a motivational speaker, and a father. In this podcast, recorded during International Retinoblastoma Week, he talks about overcoming adversity and why "there's never been a better time to be blind."

A clinical trial for choroideremia

What does it take to get ground-breaking research out of the lab and accessible to patients so that we can save sight and change lives? In this episode of the Eye Research Podcast, Professor Robert MacLaren discusses gene therapy for choroideremia, an inherited form of progressive blindness.

Joe Pepper, or P14, a trial participant, joins the discussion.

Alongside Fight for Sight and Vision Foundation Chief Executive Keith Valentine, they discuss the challenges of taking research from the lab through clinical trials to where it is widely available to patients. Together, they address some regulatory challenges and the need for policy changes so that more people can benefit from scientific breakthroughs.

National Clinical Director for Eye Care 

Louisa Wickham is their National Clinical Director for Eye Care and medical director at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

In this podcast, she talks to Chief Executive Keith Valentine about her passion for ophthalmology, how the eyes can be the window to the rest of the body and her work in diabetic retinopathy.

Louisa discusses the importance of empathy in the doctor-patient relationship. She and Keith talk about the role of the charity sector and how technology can empower people with sight loss.

Funding future eye care researchers

Keith Valentine talks to some of the PhD students we are privileged to be funding. 

The theme is one of determination, motivation and inspiration. The students discuss conducting research in a time of Covid and why connecting with people affected by sight loss drives their research. Plus, they discuss the cross-over between specific diseases and sight loss. 

British Paralympic Association CEO, Dave Clarke

Our CEO Keith Valentine chats with old friend David Clarke who was recently appointed as the new chief executive of the Paralympic Association. 

Clarke represented his country 144 times in blind football, scoring 128 goals. He competed in Paralympics at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Clarke also spent 24 years in banking and was most recently Chief Operating Officer.

This episode was recorded before Clarke's recent appointment.

Age-related Macular Degeneration and the gut

We speak to Fight for Sight’s newly awarded research fellow Dr Zakariya Jarrar from King’s College. 

Dr Jarrar was due to begin his research into the role of the gut microbiome in age-related macular degeneration early in the summer. However, instead, Covid-19 saw Zak’s research suspended, and during the height of the pandemic, he spent two months working in intensive care for the NHS.

In response to the pandemic and lockdown, Fight for Sight launched a successful urgent appeal to help researchers cover the cost of returning to the labs. Dr Jarrar kindly fronted the campaign.

Living with Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Fight for Sight/Vision Foundation Trustee Dr Amit Patel talks about what it's like to live with Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a common side-effect of sight loss in which people experience visual hallucinations.

Fight for Sight, together with partners Blind Veterans UK, Esme's Umbrella and Health and Care Research Wales, is funding two research projects at Cardiff University and University of Oxford to investigate the cause of the visual hallucinations associated with Charles Bonnet Syndrome, with the hope of eventually finding a cure. Read more about the condition here.

More effective treatment for Glaucoma

Our host Róisín speaks to Professor Gus Gazzard, a consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma service director at Moorfields Eye Hospital, who discusses his pioneering LiGHT Trial, which was part-funded by Fight for Sight.

Gus also discusses the future of his research and the challenges facing the sector.

Glaucoma is the world's second leading cause of blindness. It affects 60 million people worldwide and nearly half a million in the UK alone. 

Living with Keratoconus

Fight for Sight supporter Ashley Winter is an army welfare officer who served for 14 years and whose military career was cut short when he was diagnosed with the eye disease keratoconus.

Ashley is determined not to let his eye condition get in the way of his passion for adventure, so he regularly takes part in challenge events to raise money and awareness for Fight for Sight. 

Keratoconus results in poor vision, and currently, there is no cure.

Professor Robert MacLaren on Stargart Disease

Professor Robert MacLaren, leading Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, discusses his pioneering research into using gene therapy to treat the genetic eye condition. This involves using a harmless virus to take the correct genetic information into the eye so that it starts to work properly. The early stages of this research was funded by Fight for Sight.

Professor MacLaren also discusses his research into retinitis pigmentosa and the future of robot-assisted eye surgery.

Stargardt disease causes progressive central sight loss, and there is currently no cure.

Living with Stargardt Macular Degeneration

 Fight for Sight supporter Rose and her mother Tina about Stargardt disease. Rose was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy when she was seven years old. 

Following early research funded by Fight for Sight, scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new technology that is being used to test a potential treatment for Stargardt disease. 

Rose took part in our 20 Voices for 2020 campaign.

Watch her video here.

Living with Glaucoma

Fight for Sight supporter Niki de Lara talks about her experience of uveitic glaucoma. 

Niki was diagnosed with a condition called uveitis many years ago, which led to her developing glaucoma. As a result, she lost all the sight in her right eye, and her quality of life has been severely impacted.

Niki is determined to help others with glaucoma feel less isolated, and so she and her husband have started the website and support group Glaucomarize.

Fight for Sight is currently funding 21 glaucoma research projects across the UK aimed at preventing and treating this devastating condition. This research will have a huge impact on people like Niki, who are living with glaucoma.

Repairing the damage caused by Glaucoma

In this episode of Eye Research Matters, we're focusing on glaucoma - its causes, the treatments available and what research is underway into the condition. 
Professor Keith Martin is a neuroscientist with an interest in understanding and treating glaucoma, aided by Fight for Sight funding. Professor Martin is leading a project based at the University of Cambridge, which aims to strengthen the connection between the eye and the brain, protecting and growing the vital cells that are damaged by glaucoma and other conditions. 
Glaucoma is the world's second leading cause of blindness. It affects 60 million people worldwide and nearly half a million in the UK alone. 
Currently, sight loss from glaucoma is irreversible, which is why Fight for Sight is dedicated to funding the most promising studies aimed at preventing and treating this devastating condition. We're currently funding 21 glaucoma research projects across the UK - research that will have a huge impact on those living with the condition.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

In the first episode of Eye Research Matters, we discussed age-related macular degeneration and the latest ground-breaking research into the condition.

Fight for Sight Director of Communications Sarah Campion spoke to Professor Pete Coffey, Professor of Visual Psychophysics at the Institute of Ophthalmology at UCL.

Professor Coffey’s ground-breaking research resulted in improved sight for two patients with serious sight loss from age-related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of severe sight loss in the UK, and figures are on the rise. Fight for Sight’s goal is to develop a new treatment within the next ten years – to help save hundreds of thousands of people from losing sight. We are investing in 22 research projects to help find new and more effective treatments.