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Helping people with eye problems through the coronavirus pandemic

Project summary

Some people with diabetes can develop problems with their eyes, called diabetic macular oedema (DMO). If not treated it can lead to sight loss. Due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people with diabetes have been forced to miss their usual DMO treatments. Mr Rajendram will study people with diabetes who had their treatments delayed and will track the impact on their eye health and vision. This could help to shape the care given to people with diabetes and DMO during the pandemic, and potentially prevent devastating sight loss.

Background to research

A condition called diabetic macular oedema (DMO) is a major cause of vision loss in people with diabetes, but it can be treated. Usually this involves regular injections of a treatment called anti-VEGF, which help to stop harm to blood vessels at the back of the eye and halt any further vision damage.

People living with diabetes rely on regular care and health checks to keep healthy and live well with their condition. But the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has caused major upheaval to routine health care, including for people with diabetes and DMO who receive anti-VEGF injections. At the moment, we don’t know what the impact of missing these vital injections could be.

Research aims

Ranjan Rajendram wants to investigate the effects of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic on people with diabetes’ vision. He will study people with DMO who were due to have anti-VEGF injections at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and had their treatment delayed from March 2020.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes will be asked to visit Mr Rajendram and his team six, 12 and 18 months after missing their injections to have their vision assessed. This will give us a first and rapid understanding of the consequences of missing DMO treatments.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

Damage to vision can be a devastating and we urgently need to know more about how we can protect the sight of people with diabetes who’ve had their care disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This research will give us vital insights and help to guide care for people with diabetes and DMO during these unprecedented times, so we can reduce their risk of sight loss. This knowledge could also be critical to inform DMO care if the pandemic causes continued disruptions to routine NHS services over the coming months and years. 

Co-funded with Moorfields Eye Charity
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