Finding out why children are born blind | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - March 2011

Finding out why children are born blind

A doctor working with blind and partially sighted babies at Great Ormond Street Hospital is determined to tackle childhood blindness. Action Medical Research awarded her a fellowship – with help from a generous legacy – for a two-year study.

Dr Lily Islam is using the Walkinshaw Research Training Fellowship to search for genetic changes that can cause blindness. Scientists have already identified some but there are likely to be many more. She is focusing on defects that affect the front of the eye, which lead to blindness from birth.

At least four of every 10,000 children born in the UK are diagnosed as severely visually impaired or blind before their first birthday. Dr Islam’s work could give parents invaluable information on why their child is blind and how the condition may be inherited. It could also lead to better treatments.
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