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VERI celebrates World Sight Day 2022

Published: 12 October 2022 at 12:35

To mark World Sight Day 2022 (12 October), staff from ARU's Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) have been reflecting on their recent projects.

Anglia Ruskin University Diabetic Retinopathy Awareness and Prevention Programme (ARUDRAPP)

Prof Shahina Pardhan and Dr Raju Sapkota are working to improve diabetic health literacy and uptake of retinal screening in South Asian and Black people.

Their previous work in South Asians showed various barriers including lower awareness of factors that influence good diabetes control. This led to the development of a culturally appropriate diabetes awareness programme in three different languages, showing great success in improving health literacy and reducing the risk of complications, not just in the UK but also in China, Nepal, and India.

Currently, they are examining factors influencing the high risk of diabetes and its complications, and also the barriers that black African/Caribbean people face in utilising diabetic health services.

Their aim is to develop a diabetes and retinopathy awareness programme appropriate to the Afro-Caribbean community living in the UK with an emphasis on African and Caribbean diets.

Find out more about ARUDRAPP.

Find out more about the impact of ARUDRAPP.

Visual short-term memory study

Previous work from VERI (Prof Shahina Pardhan, Dr Raju Sapkota, Dr Ian van der Linde) showed that certain features of visual short-term memory, for example, combining different visual features of an object into an integrated whole (called memory binding) may serve as a cognitive marker of early dementia.

This work is now being moved forward as part of a PhD project by recruiting a larger cohort of people with mild cognitive impairment. The aim is to refine and validate our memory binding tests (and develop an app/software) for detecting early cognitive decline in dementia.

Early detection of dementia is critical for therapies aimed at improving symptoms of dementia and improving quality of life and future planning.

Psychological impact of vision loss

One of Dr Jasleen Jolly's key projects is to increase awareness of the language that eye care practitioners use when interacting with patients during the start of the vision loss journey. We are developing a language toolkit for practitioners to increase empathy when delivering bad news.

Outcome measures used to determine the effectiveness of new therapies

Dr Jasleen Jolly's other project is to work with partners at both Oxford and Cambridge universities to improve the way the results of new treatments such as gene therapies are measured. This will increase the success of new treatment trials for rare diseases.

Effective refractive error coverage

Dr Tabassom Sedighi was part of the research group working on the Global Eye Health Indicator Estimate which was published in the in the Lancet Global Health. This work has great impact on the public policy, public services, and quality of life by explaining the access and use of refractive services among older adults.

It shows that in addition to the distribution of refractive services, and relative improvements in socioeconomic status over the past two decades, the increased resources provided by non-governmental organisations to address uncorrected refractive error, and recognition by organisations such as WHO that this is a public health problem, have also great contribution to improve the eREC among older adults.

The outcomes also encourage providers to offer refractive correction to milder degrees of vision impairment, which have a substantial effect on quality of life.

The impact of vision loss on movement

Dr Mark Hines is a biomechanist and exercise physiologist who has recently come to VERI to research how movement can be impacted by vision loss.

His initial projects include assessments of daily living tasks in simulated cataracts, in children with myopia, and innovative ways of assessing movement outside the laboratory environment.