New research to help address Thyroid Eye Disease

10 January 18

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Press Office

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Fight for Sight in partnership with British Thyroid Foundation and Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust funds two new studies

Fight for Sight, the UK’s leading eye research charity, has teamed up with two other charities to fund new research into thyroid eye disease (TED), a condition affecting tens of thousands of people in the UK (see below for reference). TED is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder in which parts of the eye and eye socket become inflamed. TED causes dry, bulging eyes, swollen eyelids and double or blurred vision.

Fight for Sight and Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust are jointly funding a project at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Researchers, led by Miss Swan Kang, will perform three pilot studies of an imaging technique to study blood vessels on the white of the eye in patients who have TED. These studies will investigate the diagnosis and monitoring potential of the technique. The detailed measurements obtained during the studies will then be used to help find novel biomarkers for future research. The hope is that this project will enable early detection of TED and identification of those who are at risk of developing vision loss.

Fight for Sight has also partnered with British Thyroid Foundation to fund work which could identify novel potential prognosis and treatment targets. Dr Maryse Bailly from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology aims to identify how TED progresses, by characterising one major aspect of the disease. She aims to understand why and how local cells called fibroblasts turn into fat cells, which cause most of the swelling in TED. Researchers have grown patient cells in soft gels made of collagen which, under certain conditions, mirror what happens in TED.

Michele Acton, CEO of Fight for Sight, said: “Thyroid eye disease affects the lives of so many. We are delighted to have formed these partnerships with Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust and British Thyroid Foundation to fund research, which will positively impact those living with TED.”

Rebecca Ford, Chair of the Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust Committee, said: “We are delighted that the small grant award will go to Dr Kang and colleagues. We hope that her investigation of use of the new OCT-A technology to examine the front of the eye in thyroid eye disease might help to develop objective ways to assess disease activity in this condition and thus to choose appropriate treatments more effectively.”

Janis Hickey, Founder of British Thyroid Foundation, said: “Thyroid eye disease is a distressing complication of Graves' disease. It can have a significant and negative impact upon quality of life and visual function. The British Thyroid Foundation welcomes studies that improve care for people with thyroid eye disease and is delighted to once again have the opportunity to partner with Fight for Sight in order to fund much-needed research into TED.”

For more information about TED, please visit Fight for Sight’s web site and have a look at their A to Z of eye conditions:

                                                                                                         - ENDS -

Notes to editors:

1 The condition prevalence is approximately 16 per 100,000 females and 3 per 100,000 males. References:

• McAlinden: An overview of thyroid eye disease. Eye and Vision 2014 1:9

• Cawood: Recent developments in thyroid eye disease. BMJ 2004; 329

About Fight for Sight:

Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

Fight for Sight’s overall research commitments amount to £8m for over 159 research projects at 44 different universities and hospitals across the UK.

Fight for Sight is funding research to stop sight loss caused by both common and rare eye diseases and conditions. These include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, inherited eye diseases and the causes of childhood sight loss.

Research that has been funded by Fight for Sight has resulted in:

• the identification of new genes responsible for glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, keratoconus and other corneal disorders, and Nance-Horan syndrome;

• the world’s first clinical trial of a treatment (a gene therapy) for choroideremia, an inherited condition that causes blindness in men; and

• the design of a new test that can detect the early stages of sight loss in age-related macular degeneration.

Fight for Sight social media: or

Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust:

Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust is a UK charity which provides information, care and support to those affected by Thyroid Eye Disease (TED).

British Thyroid Foundation:

The British Thyroid Foundation (BTF) is a charity dedicated to supporting people with thyroid disorders and helping their families and people around them to understand the condition. 

British Thyroid Foundation social media: or