Project Title: Visual Impairment in MS
Our funding supports research into visual impairment and multiple sclerosis. The University has a multidisciplinary team that looks at subtle changes in vision that can have a drastic impact on people’s lives. The team aims to learn how many people experience these problems and to develop clinical guidelines to help people recognise and adapt to them.
Prof. Anita Simmers - Principal Investigator
I’ve worked in clinical practice for years and I’ve often seen patients with multiple sclerosis whose visual dysfunction was missed or not treated properly. We want to look at how many people have these problems and how this affects their lives. More importantly, we want to develop strategies to make their lives better.
We’re most interested in the various very subtle changes to how people perceive the world. So, people may be able to see to the bottom of a traditional sight chart, but they may see motion or contrast differently to you or I.
This can have quite disastrous consequences for everyday life. For example, you may feel unsteady on your feet, you may not be able to make a cup of tea, navigate through crowds or avoid obstacles. Another issue is that, if people are not aware of these vision problems, they may believe that their MS motor symptoms are more advanced than they are. This could be frightening and could lead to people limiting their independence unnecessarily.
Because traditional eye tests tend only to measure vision in s one-dimensional way, these subtle defects are often missed. We can use custom-made computer programmes to give a tailored measure of that individual’s cognitive as well as subjective symptoms.
We would love this study to give us clear clinical guidelines for the treatment of persistent visual impairment and also raise awareness among people with MS and their carers.