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Research participation opportunity in Plymouth

Perceptual Learning for Nystagmus

We are delighted to offer people who have nystagmus the opportunity to take part in an exciting new research study at the University of Plymouth, in collaboration with Cardiff University and jointly funded by the Nystagmus Network and Fight for Sight.

Who are we looking for?

Anyone aged between 18 and 35, diagnosed with Infantile (Congenital) Nystagmus

What will you be doing?

  • Complete vision tests on computer at the University of Plymouth to assess how well you can see static and moving letters and static dots
  • Complete vision training at home for 1 hour per day, 3 days a week over a period of 4 weeks

Who are we?

Dr Mahesh Joshi

Dr Mahesh Joshi

Dr Asma Zahidi

Dr Asma Zahidi

For more information, please contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

Travel Expenses

We will be paying your travel expenses to Plymouth up to £50.

Nikita smiles for the camera

Congratulations, Dr Thomas

The Nystagmus Network is sending huge congratulations to the newly qualified Dr Nikita Thomas. Dr Thomas achieved her PhD this month.

Nikita is well known to members of the Nystagmus Network for her engaging personality and confident presentations on her latest nystagmus research.

On World Sight Day 2020, Nikita was named an Eye Health Hero by the IAPB (the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness). She was nominated by the Nystagmus Network and her senior colleagues at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University for her innovative work in perimetry.

We’re sure that Nikita has a brilliant nystagmus research career ahead of her. With her PhD behind her she can now concentrate on her post-doctoral career.

Nikita says: “I never thought this day would actually come! I passed my PhD viva and I’m officially Dr Thomas. I was just an average kid at school who raised eyebrows when she chose science at A-levels, and now I’m a fully-fledged scientist. Amazing feeling.”

Congratulations, Dr Thomas!

A screenshot of the Nystagmus Network UK research workshop on zoom, showing thumbnail images of 20 delegates.

Nystagmus Network hosts UK research workshop

On Friday 2 October, the Nystagmus Network once again hosted the annual UK nystagmus research workshop.

This is an opportunity for researchers, clinicians and academics to get together to share their work and plan greater collaboration. They are, after all, all working towards the same goal. The workshop took place via zoom.

Nystagmus Network trustees and staff were delighted to be joined by nystagmus experts from

  • The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University
  • The Ulverscroft Eye Unit, University of Leicester
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital, London
  • Royal Eye Infirmary, Plymouth
  • Academic Unit of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital

Improving the infantile nystagmus test

Delegates at 100% Optical learned about progress on refining the way an eye movement disorder is identified in babies

Professor Jon Erichsen from the University of Cardiff gave a presentation on infantile nystagmus to eye care professionals at the recent 100% Optical event (ExCeL London, 25–27 January).  

Professor Erichsen highlighted that in the condition there are several “known unknowns.”

“One thing we don’t understand is why we can have all sorts of conditions where the nystagmus is the same even though the disease is different,” he elaborated.

He added that while treatments for nystagmus attempt to dampen oscillation in order to improve vision, it is still uncertain whether abnormal eye movements affect visual acuity.

Patients with infantile nystagmus see the world as stable despite their involuntary eye movements, Professor Erichsen shared.

Experiments aimed at assessing a patient’s visual acuity in the absence of involuntary eye movements came to a surprising conclusion.

“Acuity in the absence of visual motion is unchanged,” Professor Erichsen highlighted.

To illustrate this point, he shared the case of a patient with infantile nystagmus who received surgery that dampened her eye movements.

“By reducing eye movements, what we may be doing is increasing the contrast sensitivity function which is why patients are reporting that their vision is better” University of Cardiff’s Professor Jonathan Erichsen 

The patient reported being able to see better, although objective measures of her visual acuity had not changed.

Professor Erichsen shared that contrast sensitivity rather than visual acuity may be a better way of assessing treatments in infantile nystagmus.

“By reducing eye movements, what we may be doing is increasing the contrast sensitivity function which is why patients are reporting that their vision is better without the movements,” Professor Erichsen observed.

Read the full report on Professor Erichsen’s presentation in Optometry Today, here.

Nystagmus Network research conference 2019.

Nystagmus research conference 2019

The Nystagmus Network will once again be hosting a UK nystagmus research conference in 2019.

Following the success of last year’s event, attended by research and clinical teams from the Universities of Cardiff, Sheffield, Plymouth and Southampton and from Moorfields Eye Hospital and Fight for Sight, the charity will be funding a further event with a view to bringing about ever closer collaboration between teams and seeking out new and collaborative ways to make rare resources stretch even further.

As testing and detection become ever more sophisticated, it is hoped that outcomes for babies born with nystagmus will continue to improve, with effective treatments, prevention and even cure moving closer. In addition, therapies and interventions for young people and adults with congenital and acquired nystagmus continue to be explored.

This year’s conference takes place at the University of Cardiff in September. Delegates from across the UK have been invited and the charity is delighted to announce that representation from Leicester, London, Plymouth, Southampton and, of course, Cardiff is already confirmed. Clinicians, researchers and academics will be joined by Research Manager at Fight for Sight, Neil Meemaduma and those Nystagmus Network trustees who sit on the charity’s research committee.

Research teams will also attend the Nystagmus Network Open Day in Cardiff on Saturday 28 September, where they will be available to speak with delegates about their work.