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Project information

Amblyopia: addressing sight loss

Amblyopia is the term used when vision in one eye is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together (the condition is often known as 'lazy eye'). When a child's sight is impaired, it can have a detrimental effect on their physical, neurological, and emotional development.

October 2011 - September 2014

Charity information: Fight for Sight

Fight for Sight logo
  • Need


    Amblyopia (or 'lazy eye') is the most common cause of visual impairment in children in the UK, affecting approx. 3-4% of the population. Amblyopia most often results from either a misalignment of a child's eye (such as crossed eyes) or a difference in image quality between the two eyes (one eye focusing better than the other). These problems lead to abnormal development of the visual areas of the brain during childhood which, if untreated, can lead to permanent visual deficits.


    This research introduces novel techniques that will, for the first time, measure, monitor and correct visual distortions in children. This will extend our understanding of how more complex visual processes are affected by amblyopia and if treatment (patching an eye) improves all aspects of vision. The results from the research will have an impact on the development of effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of amblyopia

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To develop our understanding of how visual processes are affected by amblyopia.


    » Examine visual distortions through the course of standard clinical treatment.
    » Pilot a computer game based therapy to be evaluated as a potential approach for treating children with amblyopia.

    What success will look like

    Success will be a better understanding of the role visual distortions play in the prognosis and the recovery of visual function.

  • Impact


    The technology developed will be applied to a computer game-based therapy that will be evaluated as a potential approach for patients. Ultimately this research may lead to the development of a highly accurate and tailored treatment to a clinical condition that imposes a huge burden on NHS resources (as the most commonly treated pediatric eye disease in the UK) and distress to families.


    Although unlikely, there is a risk that the PhD student recruited to carry out this research doesn't see it through. We have mitigated this risk by ensuring that the supervisors for the project are experienced and highly regarded in their fields; the facilities available are excellent; and that the research programme is challenging but achievable.


    Funders of this project will receive regular updates on Fight for Sight's progress in preventing and treating blindness. We will send an annual progress report relating to the project, detailing milestones and performance against these.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £99,954

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £66,759 Student costs Stipend, PhD fees and travel costs for student
      £33,195 Equipment costs Computer, stereo monitor and glasses, Tobi eye tracker and consumables

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trust £25,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    This project will take place in the Department of Vision Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University. The Department provides a unique focus in Scotland for vision research as the country's only dedicated eye research centre. The Department has a state of the art eye clinic and teaching facilities with over 10,000 patient visits each year.


    Amblyopia is present in approximately 2-4% of children under the age of 15, which equates to up to 400,000 children in the UK. If untreated (before the age of seven) the condition is considered to be untreatable and recovery of normal vision is unlikely to occur. This project therefore will have a beneficial impact for many thousands of children and their families.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Fight for the Sight is the UK's leading charity dedicated to funding world-class research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and eye disease. As a member of the AMRC, all of the grant applications we receive are subjected to a robust peer review process by global experts in the field to ensure that we only fund the best eye research in UK universities and hospitals.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Anita Simmers, Senior Lecturer, Department Of Vision Sciences At Glasgow Caledonian University

    Dr Simmers is a highly regarded clinical ophthalmologist and will be the primary supervisor for this studentship.

    Professor Peter Bex, Research Professor, Schepens Institute, Department Of Ophthalmology At Harvard University

    Professor Bex will be second supervisor for this project. He has authored/co-authored 60 published articles relating chiefly to visual processing.

    Marianne Piano, PhD Student

    This student has a BSc (Hons) in Orthoptics from the University of Liverpool and is due to complete a MRes in Health Sciences in September.