Ophthalmologist Lola Solebo recognised for study into the management of avoidable childhood blindness

  • 30 Apr 2019
  • RCOphth

Lola Solebo, NIHR Moorfields BRC and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, has been awarded The Ulverscroft David Owen Prize by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Ulverscroft Foundation for the best piece of research published in paediatric ophthalmology over the past three years.

Focusing on congenital and infantile cataract the paper, published in the Lancet, highlights the findings of the IoLunder2 study. The study questions the much accepted practice of inserting Intraocular Lens (IoLs) in children under two years old to improve visual outcomes and reduce incidence of post-operative glaucoma.

Over a five-year period the IoLunder2 study, conducted through the British Isles Congenital Cataract Group (BCCIG) measured outcomes in children with IoLs for cataracts and found no independent association with either better visual outcomes or a reduction in incidences of post-operative glaucoma. In fact, the study found an increased risk of reoperation for visual axis opacity (VAO) – In other words a further risk to the child’s sight.

The use of IoLs in children of this age is widespread in paediatric ophthalmology despite lacking a robust evidence base for doing so. Lola Solebo’s paper, co-authored with Philippa Cumberland and Jugnoo Rahi on behalf of the BCCIG, provides a valuable evidence base for the management and policy of congenital and infantile cataract moving forward. With this condition being the most common cause of avoidable childhood blindness, and included as a World Health Organisation Vision 2020 priority, the impact of the paper is likely to be significant and far reaching.

The firm conclusions drawn by the IoLunder2 study will have significant impact for paediatric practice in the UK and further afield. The work undertaken by Lola Solebo and her co-authors is likely to prove important in the fight against avoidable childhood blindness for many years to come.

Mike Burdon, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Ulverscroft Foundation, and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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