UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Prof Sobha Sivaprasad awarded £6m by Global Challenges Research Fund

21 July 2017

A leading expert from Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields is joining forces with researchers from around the world to tackle some of the biggest healthcare challenges in developing countries.

Professor Sobha Sivaprasad

Professor Sobha Sivaprasad, medical retina consultant, has been awarded £6 million from the Global Challenges Research Fund to trial new cost-effective tests that could help to prevent blindness in India.

It’s estimated that 69 million people in India suffer from diabetes and the most common complication is a deterioration of the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. This condition, called diabetic retinopathy, can lead to blindness if left untreated.

In India, where many people still live in poverty and diabetic eye screening is expensive, millions go untested and do not receive treatment in time to save their sight.

Prof Sobha, said: “This funding has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionise management of diabetic eye disease universally.”

Prof Sobha hopes to roll out a new handheld camera that could massively reduce the costs of eye screening. A second approach to be trialled is a blood test that can be performed at home to pick up early signs of diabetic eye disease. If it is successful, the kits will be tested for use in the UK to reduce the need for screening in hospitals.

The Global Challenges Research Fund is investing £1.5 billion in 37 projects over the next four years to build upon research knowledge in the UK and stimulate research on the challenges faced by developing countries.