Prof James Loughman

Biography

James is a Professor of Optometry and Vision Science with over 20 years of clinical, academic, research and management experience. His primary clinical interests are in paediatrics and ocular disease. His academic and research interests are in preventive eye health technologies and interventions for the most common causes of blindness including myopia, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetes. He is founder and Director of the Centre for Eye Research Ireland (CERI), a research lab at Technological University Dublin dedicated to providing state of the art solutions for blindness prevention. He is Principal Investigator on 3 major clinical trials. The Myopia Outcome Study of Atropine in Children (MOSAIC) is the first clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of low dose atropine for myopia control in European children. This trial is funded by Fighting Blindness through the HRB MRCG scheme. He is also leading the Irish contribution to the multicentre international Childhood Atropine for Myopia Progression (CHAMP) trial which explores additional concentrations of atropine. Other pioneering work includes a trial to evaluate the neuroprotective capacity of select nutrients in glaucomatous optic neuropathy. The European Nutrition in Glaucoma Management (ENIGMA) trial is currently recruiting participants to explore the role of macular carotenoids for neuroprotection and vision enhancement in glaucoma. Big Data analytics is also a core research priority at CERI, where he is exploring the unique capacity of ophthalmic Big Data sources to contribute to future eye health policy, planning, research and clinical priorities.  Since 2008, he has been Director and Principal Investigator of a number of Africa-based international development projects, including the Mozambique Eyecare Project and Human Resources for Eye Health, which spans 11 African countries and now continues to work in child eye health with the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Orbis International in Africa.

He has published over seventy scientific articles in leading peer reviewed journals, over one-hundred peer-reviewed abstracts, numerous scientific letters and commissioned articles, and been invited to chair and deliver keynote speeches and continuous education lectures at various national and international conferences. He has secured in excess of €9.3 million in research and commercialisation funding since 2007, and is currently working to develop preventive health technologies and systems, and build eye health capacity in Ireland and in developing countries.

Abstract

Atropine eye drops for the prevention and treatment of myopia: Tackling the sight threatening risks of a modern global pandemic.

The prevalence of myopia is escalating at an alarming rate, not only in Asia, but across the globe. This trend is set to continue, with 5 billion people expected to be affected worldwide by 2050. More worryingly, these prevalence rises appear to coincide with a myopic shift, whereby the degree of myopia in the population has been observed to have increased. Myopia control is now an urgent public health priority given the escalating risk of potentially blinding ocular pathology associated with myopia including cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy. Eye health professionals urgently need to reconsider their attitudes and clinical practice in relation to myopia which is no longer an optical convenience, but a modifiable risk factor for blinding disease. This presentation will explore the management of the myopia pandemic with atropine eye drops. The existing evidence will be presented along with an overview of the Fighting Blindness-funded Myopia Outcome Study of Atropine in Children (MOSAIC) trial being conducted at the Centre for Eye Research Ireland. Atropine will be discussed in relation to both the prevention of incipient myopia and the control of existing myopia progression.

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