A patient-friendly way to measure flare-ups of birdshot uveitis

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Birdshot Uveitis Society Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mr Alastair Denniston
  • Institute: Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
  • Region: West Midlands
  • Start date: March 2016
  • End Date: March 2017
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Birdshot uveitis is a rare sight-threatening condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the retina and the choroid – two critical structures in the eye.

One of the major challenges in caring for people with birdshot is how difficult it is to tell when the condition is actively causing inflammation. There is no widely available, sensitive way to measure this, which can lead to over-treatment or under-treatment, both of which can cause problems.

The team has demonstrated that the light-based imaging device known as optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be used outside its usual field of action to detect changes in the retina and choroid in birdshot. It can even pick up changes in the vitreous jelly which fills the middle of the eye.

In this project they are using these imaging techniques to study how these features change over time and to assess how good this method could be for detecting ‘flare-ups’ of disease. They believe that this approach will provide a patient-friendly way of monitoring the condition in the future, both in everyday clinical use, and for helping assess new treatments in clinical trials.

Find out more about Birdshot Uveitis Society