Childhood blindness charity based in Thriplow launches new fundraising appeal for pioneering treatment programme in Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 16:34 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 11 April 2017

Sir Hugh Duberly, Addenbrooke’s consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Louise Allen and Fight Against Blindness' chief executive Clive Fisher.

Sir Hugh Duberly, Addenbrooke’s consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Louise Allen and Fight Against Blindness' chief executive Clive Fisher.

Archant

The small team at a Thriplow-based charity, which funds medical research into blindness in children, have launched their new fundraising appeal at an event hosted by the former Lord-Leiutenant of Cambridgeshire.

Fight Against Blindness’ aim is to help children and their families affected by sight loss cope with the difficulties of their condition and to fund research into curing eye disease.

Chief executive Clive Fisher, who founded the charity in 2008, told the Crow: “We started at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and the work we fund is primarily based there, but programmes that are successful are rolled out and we how have programmes at Southampton General, Bristol Eye Hospital, and one based within the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

“This is an exciting time for the charity, as we are on the cusp of big things.”

The launch of their new Children’s Sight-Line appeal at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus was hosted by the charity’s Patron Sir Hugh Duberly – who has just stepped down from his post of 14-years as the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire – and Mr Fisher hopes it will raise £30,000 to develop a pioneering method of assessing visual function in children with eye and brain conditions.

Funds raised by the appeal will enable the technique to be implemented in iPad technology, which is easily portable for use in wards and community settings throughout Cambs and then nationally and internationally.

FAB is also the only charity to fund paediatric cognitive behavioural therapy and gene testing for children with sight loss, something Mr Fisher – who worked in science and engineering before his retirement – is extremely passionate about.

“It is so important to me, and the reason is really straight forward – because children are the future and the funding needs to go to the right place,” he said.

“CBT will help children suffering sight loss around the home, help the go to school and to hospital appointments, which can be extremely difficult.

“Our main limitation is funding.”

Consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Louise Allen gave a presentation on the launch evening to an invited audience, showing that clinical trials of the revolutionary but large and static prototype has already shown its superior performance over currently available methods.

Mr Fisher said the result will be an effective and accurate visual acuity and field loss test to measure children’s visual pathway, which is vital in giving early recognition of diseases such as retinal dystrophy and brain tumours to start therapies to prevent further sight loss.

To find out more about Fight Against Blindness and the Children’s Sight-Line appeal, or for more information on how to donate, go to www.fabrp.co.uk.

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