Sight loss research in focus as national campaign launches

A Fight for Sight campaign is to launch this weekend, to raise awareness of eye health and the need for vital eye research. Former House of Commons Speaker the Rt Hon Baroness Boothroyd will kick off the campaign with an interview on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday (5 August). Sight loss affects more than two million people in the UK, a figure that is set to double by 2050. Despite this, eye disease is a desperately under-funded area of research in the UK. Professor Anna Horwood, in the Department of Psychology and Clinical Language Studies, explains how Reading research aims to tackle these issues.

Sight loss is an under-funded area of health research

Research into sight loss is a neglected area of research funding, but imagine what it is like to lose your sight? What would you be able to do? Read? Drive? Watch TV?

We are all familiar with research into diseases like cancer and dementia, but funding for sight loss is a fraction of that set aside for those conditions. With an ageing population, more and more people are having their lives affected by not being able to see. What might be an active old age can be devastated by not being able to do things most people take for granted.

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Bonding over books could help children across the globe

The shared experience of poring over the pictures in a book with a child can feel like a luxury for many parents and carers as they juggle the responsibilities of parenthood. But the value of these early interactions cannot be overestimated. Professors Lynne Murray and Peter Cooper have worked with parents and children in low- and middle-income countries for more than 20 years to assess the impact of early parenting interventions on child development. Here they tell us how a simple, inexpensive intervention to promote sensitive book-sharing can help child development and support the largest group of potential educators – parents.

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