"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision" Helen Keller
The eye is a unique tool for researchers for many reasons, including its accessibility, optical clarity with direct visualisation of the central nervous system and immune privilege to test novel therapies and PWIS awardees will be exposed to all aspects of this and much more during their time in Cambridge.
Vision science itself encompasses all aspects of vision and perception, from how the eye works, to why we see colour, to what the brain “sees” when you dream.
Eye research does not only include the treatment of eye disease. It involves helping patients cope in a seeing world, treating patients holistically and investigating new ways to diagnose, monitor or interact virtually with patients. This involves doctors, physiotherapists, epidemiologists, geneticists, mechanical and computer engineers to name a few.
We rely on sight to navigate our world and blindness can have a dramatic impact on a person’s quality of life, from education and employment opportunities, to accomplishing daily tasks and simply getting around.
Studying how the visual system works, and how injury or disease can damage it, is therefore an enormously important effort for medical doctors and scientific researchers.
Now is an exciting time for vision science... the eye has been at the forefront of some of the greatest leaps from the lab bench to the clinical bedside in recent years.
Doctors have implanted electrodes in the eyes of patients who were blind and restored elements of their sight.
Gene therapy trials are showing promise in treating diseases that rob children of their vision.
And artificial intelligence has led to a revolution in “computer vision,” with programs capable of recognising faces, making decisions, and solving complex problems.
The next generation of researchers will take the most challenging questions we face and bring them into the light of reality.