Sue attended a meeting yesterday at the House of Commons of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment. The subject of the meeting was eye research. Sue was the guest of Fight for Sight, whose Chief Executive, Michele Acton, gave a powerful account of the current sight research position and admirably represented the voice of both patient groups and research teams. The meeting was chaired by Lord Low of Dalston, who is himself visually impaired. Other speakers were Red Szell, who spoke evocatively of his own experience of gradual sight loss due to retinitis pigmentosa; Dr Ian Churcher, Vice President of Drug Discovery at Benevolent AI, who explained the use of artificial intelligence to push the boundaries of treatments for different eye conditions; Rachael Pearson, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience at University College, London who gave an overview of eye research and, in particular, the importance of basic research and Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research Diabetes UK, who outlined how charities are collaborating to solve large scale clinical issues.
Although there is no doubt still a way to go to achieve the government investment needed to challenge preventable sight loss, Sue was encouraged by what was said at the meeting.
“When my daughter was diagnosed with nystagmus in 1991 an ophthalmologist told me then that there was no money in nystagmus research, and nobody wanting to do it, because it simply wasn’t exciting enough. How proud I am to be able to work with the Nystagmus Network, in partnership with Fight for Sight, to continue to turn that around.”
Picture courtesy of Secret Earth.