[Skip to Content]

The British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit (BOSU)

COVID-19 UPDATE: For a combination of practical and methodological reasons the BOSU committee has decided to suspend temporarily the distribution of yellow notification cards for the next 3 months. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ building is closed for a period of time and there will be no postal delivery or staff members to sort and enter the reports and notify researchers.  Furthermore, there will be an abnormal attendance of patients in eye departments which will affect the identification and reporting of cases. And of course most NHS clinicians will be working differently and focussing on clinical care rather than research.

We will review the situation regularly  and we will reinstate the notification process once it is appropriate to do so. We will of course work with our researchers to control for the impact of this and will extend case ascertainment periods for studies appropriately to ensure that surveillance studies remain robust and will continue to provide meaningful information for UK ophthalmologists.


Ophthalmic Surveillance Unit (BOSU) is  a system for national collection of data on rare and important disorders to support research, prevention and epidemiological assessment of ophthalmic disorders across the UK. The unit aims to facilitate research for the advancement of knowledge and improvement of the prevention and treatment of these disorders. Further benefits from our work are implications for service planning; allowing ophthalmologists to participate in peer-reviewed research and lessening the burden on reporting doctors of requests for data from numerous sources. We have also increased the awareness within both the ophthalmological community and the medical profession as a whole of the rare disorders studied; and where necessary we are positioned to respond rapidly to ophthalmic public health emergencies.

Since July 1997 the unit has continuously provided a unique resource supporting high quality epidemiological research and achieving a good publication record. We have supported over 65 different studies which have led to over 50 peer review papers, we receive consistently high levels of support and participation by UK ophthalmologists; and we continue to attract good quality applications for new studies.

Over 1300 reporting ophthalmologists participate in our active surveillance scheme. We use a methodology that has been tested in other specialties, both in the UK and internationally. We have supported surveillance for a wide range of conditions. However, rare disease surveillance is more than the systematic collection of data, the analysis and dissemination of that information to those who have contributed and all those who need to know remains an integral part of our mission. We have had great success at national and international conferences and details of all publications from BOSU studies can be are detailed in our Bibliography.

We typically have 7 or 8 conditions on the yellow card at any one time and we invite applications from ophthalmologists and others with a research interest in this area. Further information on suitable conditions and the application process can be found here.

The British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit Steering Committee

Name Hospital/ Institution Town/City Region
Professor J. Rahi  PhD. FRCOphth (Chair) Great Ormond Street/ Institute of Child Health London North Thames
Professor M. R. Stanford FRCS FRCOphth St Thomas’s Hospital London South Thames
Mr Nigel Davies FRCOphth St Thomas’s Hospital London South Thames
Mr David Lockington Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology Glasgow Scotland
Mr B. Foot BOSU, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists London  
Mr C. Edelsten MA MRCP FRCOphth The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust Ipswich Anglia and Oxford
Mr M Burdon MRCP FRCOphth Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham


Birmingham West Midlands
Mr D Morris FRCOphth University Hospital of Wales Cardiff Wales
Miss G. Silvestri MD MRCP FRCSEd FRCOphth Royal Victoria Hospital, Belsfast Belfast Northern Ireland
Miss Cathy Williams FRCOphth Bristol Eye Hospital Bristol South West
Professor D Steel FRCOphth Sunderland Eye Infirmary Sunderland North East
Miss Rashmi Mathew FRCOphth Moorfields Eye Hospital


London North Thames
Mr Yun Wong FRCOphth The James Cook University Hospital Middlesbrough North East
Mr Harry Petruskin FRCOphth Moorfields Eye Hospital


London North Thames
Mr Mahi Muqit FRCOphth Moorfields Eye Hospital


London North Thames

Telephone 020 7935 0702 or use the contact form below.