Bridlington study into age-related eye disease will investigate genetic risk factors

The Bridlington Eye Assessment Project is hoping people over 60 will take part in the major study.
The Bridlington Eye Assessment Project is hoping people over 60 will take part in the major study.

Residents who are over 60 in Bridlington are being offered the chance to play an important role in the future development of personalised treatments for age-related eye disease.

The Bridlington Eye Assessment Project (BEAP), led by The University of Nottingham, is appealing for people to take part in research that aims to more accurately predict how many patients are likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and those who are at a greater risk due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In addition, patients who are already receiving treatment for wet AMD in particular hospitals are being investigated to see how well they are responding to treatment.

Residents in Bridlington will be sent information by post and invited to take part in the study.

To participate they will need to complete a questionnaire and will be invited to attend a research clinic at Bridlington Hospital.

Images will be taken of the back of both eyes (the retina) and the images will be anonymised and analysed by the research team to determine whether they have AMD and the stage of the condition.

The results could be used in the development of new treatments, including those for previously untreatable early stages of AMD, and treatment plans to address individual patient needs.

Dr Winfried Amoaku, clinical associate professor and reader in ophthalmology and visual sciences in the University’s School of Medicine, is leading the research.

He said: “As the population in the UK and elsewhere continues to age, AMD will become increasingly more common. It is now accepted that AMD occurs as a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as smoking.

“It has also been suggested that the effectiveness of many commonly used treatments may depend on genetic differences – patients with certain genes may respond better to treatment than other patients without. It is important to determine the frequency of different stages of AMD in the UK population, as well as understand the different risks that lead to the condition and to investigate the effect of these different genetic profiles.”

Patients who are interested in taking part in the study can find out more on the BEAP website at www.BEAP.nhs.uk.