Moorfields surgeon is awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Anthony Khawaja, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to help patients with glaucoma. This competitive fellowship, led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), provides long-term, flexible funding to tackle challenges, support ambitious programmes and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK. 

Anthony’s research programme, which will be funded by this fellowship, aims to develop clinical prediction tools for glaucoma using genetic information and next-generation biochemistry techniques. 

Identifying people at high risk of glaucoma on the basis of a genetic test alone will allow targeted screening of these individuals, enabling earlier diagnosis and the prevention of irreparable vision loss, with the potential to save money too.  Genetic testing may allow clinicians to personalise the care of glaucoma patients and direct limited resources to the patients that need it most and eliminating those who do not need it at all.  Innovative approaches such as this are essential to deal with the rapidly increasing numbers of glaucoma patients.  The work identifying the key biological processes that underlie glaucoma will help with the development of new drug treatments.

Anthony is also leading an international multidisciplinary effort to identify modifiable lifestyle risk factors for glaucoma, aiming to empower patients with behaviours that can help protect their vision.

Anthony Khawaja, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:

“Glaucoma is the leading cause of sight loss globally, affecting over 80 million people. Early detection is currently very difficult to achieve, but it is critical for preventing sight loss.

“We are currently unable to easily predict which glaucoma patients need the most intensive therapy, meaning some patients still develop sight loss despite treatment and other patients are being over-treated. We are also unable to predict which of the many treatment options will be the best for individual patients, and the current standard of care involves some trial and error. These challenges make glaucoma a major public health challenge and I hope my research programme is able to help tackle this.”

Learn more about glaucoma.

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