Can we develop a fast, reliable and cheap way to monitor Birdshot’s progress?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Birdshot Uveitis Society Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Omar Mahroo
  • Institute: King’s College London
  • Region: London
  • Start date: April 2015
  • End Date: March 2016
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Birdshot is a rare, potentially blinding condition. It affects the choroid – a layer of blood vessels that supplies the ‘photoreceptor cells’ that sense light and send visual signals from the eye to the brain. Inflammation in the rear part of the choroid means that the photoreceptors don’t get the oxygen or nutrition they need to work normally.

There is no diagnostic test, and clinical signs and symptoms don’t give a clear picture of how severe the condition has become. Studies show that recording electrical activity from the eye may be a more reliable way to track the condition and its response to treatment. But the electrical activity test – known as an ‘electroretinogram’ or ERG – is not available in many clinics and takes time to do.

In this project, the team is testing a portable device that measures ERG activity to find out whether it can reliably monitor Birdshot’s progress. They are

  • Measuring clarity of vision and eye pressure in 20 participants with Birdshot
  • Recording their ERG using the handheld device
  • Comparing the results with standard ERG recording equipment
  • Comparing the results to recordings from 200 twin volunteers without Birdshot

The portable ERG device is relatively inexpensive and so if it’s effective it could help guide decisions about treatment and improve care for current patients in many eye departments. It could also make it easier to monitor the effect of new treatments as they are developed.

Find out more about Birdshot Uveitis Society