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Leading the way in tackling blindness

03 June 2019


A five-year global study looking at the effectiveness of a treatment to prevent blindness has just concluded – with the results indicating that the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) is providing one of the best services in the country.

The LUMINOUS study involved more than 30,000 patients worldwide – 11,000 in the UK – to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment to combat the effects of wet Aged-related Macular (AMD) Degeneration, which is the primary cause of blindness in the western world.

The treatment involves the injection of a drug into the eye – and is performed locally by JPUH Clinical Director of Research and Development and Consultant Ophthalmologist Professor Ben Burton and his retinal team.

Analysis of the data collected from the 48 UK sites involved in the study showed that patients receiving the treatment at five hospitals, including JPUH, had shown most improvement in their vision following 12 months of receiving the injection treatment.

Further research was then conducted as part of the study at JPUH and the other four hospitals to identify clinical best practice, which is now being shared nationwide.

Ben Burton

Professor Ben Burton


Professor Burton said: “The results of this study are a great testament to the hard work of all our staff and very reassuring for our patients that they are being treated in one of the best-performing AMD services in the country. 

“They show that here at the JPUH, we have the right processes, structures and staff in place to ensure that our patients have the best chance of this treatment proving effective in preventing blindness and improving vision.”

The treatment is carried out by Professor Burton and his team at both JPUH and the Beccles Eye Clinic.

News of the study comes just a few weeks after the JPUH recruited the first patient to a new global research trial involving a new treatment to tackle the dry form of AMD, for which there is currently on effective proven treatment.

The new treatment involves stimulating cells in the retina with light in a process called ‘photobiomodulation.’ The cells respond to light of certain wavelengths and are ‘reset’ by the treatment so they use energy more effectively. The hope is this will stop the cells dying prematurely.

Preliminary studies have shown encouraging results – and the JPUH is now involved in wider global research, being run by US company LumiThera.