Our Expert Working Group (EWG) Chairs
EWG 1 - Case Definitions
Chair - Mr Richard Wormald
Richard Wormald has been a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital since 1994, and prior to that at the Western Eye Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Ophthalmology University College London, and at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Richard trained in ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital with FRCS Glasgow in 1984 and FRCOphth in 1986. He trained in Medicine and Surgery at Cambridge University and the London Hospital 1977 and completed a Masters in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1988.
Richard has 25 years experience in epidemiology of eye health both nationally and internationally including experience of the preservation and analysis of data from the blind and partial sight registers and now CVI data for England and Wales. Richard has served as a medical advisory trustee for two major international NGOs for the prevention of blindness – Sight Savers International from 1998-2006 and Fred Hollows (UK) from 2010 until present. He is a Trustee for Vision UK and the British Council for the Prevention of Blindness
Richard is a world leader in evidence based ophthalmology as Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Eyes and Vision group, which produces high quality systematic reviews informing guidelines and policy. He has been a council member of the RCOphth and is now a member of their scientific committee.
Richard has a well established track record in ophthalmic clinical and population based research with more than 200 published research papers, which have been influential on major sight loss issues. Richard was a Steering Committee member for the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership for Sight Loss and Vision.
EWG 2 - Public Health and Equity
Chair - Professor Darren Shickle
Professor Darren Shickle is Professor of Public Health at the University of Leeds. He was previously Clinical Senior Lecturer/Reader at University of Sheffield and before that was a Harkness Fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Georgetown University in the USA. He has also worked at the Department of Health in London and the Department of Health and Services in Washington D.C. He is a research ethics expert at the European Commission and European Research Council. This public health and research interests are ophthalmic public health, public health workforce development, public health ethics, public health genetics and HIV/sexual health.
"I have been conducting research and teaching in the field of ophthalmic public health for nearly a decade. The lack of quality data in relation to the epidemiology of eye disease has been a major hindrance to addressing eye health inequalities and for informing commissioning of eye healthcare services. The epidemiological data that I have been utilising for my work has tend to be relatively old and extrapolated from research conducted in other countries. Given the increasing importance of eye health within an aging population, an initiative such UKNEHS is long overdue to inform evidenced based UK policy on eye health and for services to better meet the eye health needs of the public."
EWG 3 - Patient, Public and Stakeholder
Chair - Michael Bowen
Michael Bowen is the Director of Research at the College of Optometrists. The College is the professional and scientific body for optometry in the UK. Mike joined the College in 2008 to develop the College's first Research Strategy and create their Research Department. Mike was the Principle Investigator on the PrOVIDe project, which gathered data on the prevalence of visual impairment in people living with dementia in the UK. Mike was on the Steering Committee for the UK Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership, and is on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the SENSE Cog project. Mike is responsible for the College's international research journal, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics. He was co-Chair of the VISION 2020 UK Social Research Group.
Before working at the College of Optometrists Mike worked for the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), running their regulatory, research and education functions. Mike's academic background is in Psychology, Biology and Medical Ethics.
EWG 4 - Data linkage and reading centre
Chair - Professor Tunde Peto
Tunde Peto is Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at Queen’s University Belfast where she is responsible for teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Her remit also covers the development of International image analysis, training and educating in Countries throughout the world.
In addition to her academic work, Professor Peto is a Consultant Ophthalmologist in Medical Retina and the Clinical Lead of the Northern Irish Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) Screening Programme.
As Head of the Belfast Reading Centre and Director of The Central Angiographic Resource Facility (CARF), a unique facility coordinating the grading of ophthalmic images collected for clinical research studies, Professor Peto has expertise in overseeing a wide range of studies, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and population based studies, training graders to use a variety of imaging platforms and interpreting the images.
She is the founding member of the European Eye Epidemiology group that brought 27 epidemiological studies together in order to build collaboration and build further research platforms in Europe. Professor Peto has participated in numerous studies overseeing budgets of up to £2 million.
Professor Tunde Peto trained in Hungary and Australia and spent 15 years at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London before taking up her current position in Belfast.
"My interest in the NEHS stems from my background in international research, I specialise in chronic blinding diseases and population eye-health hence I am committed to advancement of this key area."
EWG 5 - Health Economics
Chair - Professor Alastair Gray, PhD
Alastair Gray is Professor of Health Economics and was the founding Director of the Health Economics Research Centre in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. His main research interests concern the methodology and application of economic evaluation, particularly alongside large clinical trials; the role of modelling in economic evaluation; the use of cost-effectiveness information in priority setting and decision making; the social and economic costs of ill-health; and the impact of demographic change on health service expenditure. He works across a wide range of disease areas. He is author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications, and of a standard textbook on methods of cost-effectiveness analysis in health care which is published by Oxford University Press. He is a member of the UK National Screening Committee.
Alastair’s involvement in the UKNEHS began with his role as a supervisor of Dr Tasanee Braithwaite’s Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Oxford in epidemiology and health economics, which addressed many of the issues involved in conducting large-scale surveys of vision loss and its consequences, and will be of great help in promoting the success of the UK National Eye Health & Hearing Survey.
EWG 6 - Epidemiology and Sampling
Chair - Dr Tasanee Braithewaite
Dr Tas Braithwaite is an academic ophthalmologist specialising in inflammatory eye disease and neuro-ophthalmology. Her current clinical practice is at Moorfields Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital, in London. She is part-funded by patient charity Olivia’s Vision, and is working closely with Professor Alastair Denniston and others, to develop novel, patient focused digital approaches for the diagnosis and management of inflammatory eye disease.
Tas is working on the design of the UKNEHS, to ensure this vitally important project delivers ‘bang for buck’. She trained in epidemiology and health economics, gaining a Master in Public Health degree and Health Economics certificate from Johns Hopkins University in the USA, and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Oxford. She led the successful National Eye Survey of Trinidad and Tobago (2013-2014), and contributes to the Global Burden of Disease Study, as a member of the Vision Loss Expert Group. She has served as a Consultant to the World Health Organisation, and is a Contact Editor for Cochrane Eyes and Vision.
EWG 7 - Genetics
Chair - Professor Chris Hammond
Chris Hammond is Frost Professor of Ophthalmology at King’s College London, within the School of Life Course Sciences. He is also Consultant Ophthalmologist at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, having trained in Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus at Moorfields Eye Hospital. He manages the adult ocular motility service at St Thomas’, and also provides ophthalmological input to the UK national Neurofibromatosis 1 and 2 multidisciplinary services at Guys Hospital.
Professor Hammond heads one of the leading groups examining the genetic epidemiology of common eye diseases, including glaucoma, myopia, age-related cataract, dry eye disease and age-related macular degeneration. His research is aiming to deliver personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory medicine, using Omics technology and Big Data analytics with the ultimate aim of reducing blindness and debilitating eye diseases. His research is highly collaborative, and he contributes to international consortia with data from the TwinsUK cohort, UK Biobank and local patient datasets.
As a member of its Scientific Committee, I am representing the Royal College of Ophthalmologists on the Steering Group. The RCOphth and its members, need to understand who is affected by eye disease, and where they are, to enable them to train future eye specialists to deliver eye care, and to advise the Department of Health and others about future manpower needs. The NEHS will, we hope, deliver this vital dataset for use by the many stakeholders in the UK vision care community.
"My interest in the NEHS stems from my background in research, which started (and continues) with twin studies, which have tried to examine the roles of nurture and nature in eye disease. While genetic factors explain a significant amount of variation in eye disease within a population, our work has shown there are differences in prevalence of diseases in genetically similar populations, emphasising the importance of environmental factors. Our work in myopia, using data from European Eye Epidemiology (E3) Consortium studies, has shown a strong cohort effect- myopia is becoming more common, possibly related to increased educational pressures and less time spent outdoors in childhood. It is therefore imperative that we have up-to-date information about how common eye disease is in the UK- the last population-based evidence is now over 30 years old, and it is high time we had new data."
EWG 8 - Non-ocular Specialties
Chair - Professor Sebastian Crutch
Sebastian Crutch is Professor of Neuropsychology at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology and is the clinical lead for Rare Dementia Support. Seb studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, before completing his PhD part-time whilst working at UCL and qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist (CPsychol). His research focuses on rare and young onset dementias, especially posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), the so-called ‘visual variant’ of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The work has led to improved understanding of dementia-related visual impairment and the causes and consequences of atypical AD more generally.
He has developed several interdisciplinary research themes collaborating with experts in social science, environmental engineering, occupational health and ophthalmology (ESRC/NIHR-funded work to ameliorate the effects of vision loss in dementia), computational statistics, virtual environments and human-computer interaction (EPSRC-funded work to enhance cognitive assessment), neurorehabilitation (Dunhill Medical Trust-funded work to design an app to facilitate reading in PCA), neurophysiology, engineering and neuro-otology (in Alzheimer’s Society-funded work to understand balance problems in AD).
From 2016-2018, he directed the Created Out of Mind residency at The Hub, Wellcome Collection, bringing together artists, scientists and people living with dementia in a collaboration of over 60 individuals, institutions and charities aiming to shape and enrich public and professional perceptions of the dementias, and explore the opportunities afforded by collaborative, interdisciplinary, publicly-situated research.
He currently directs a major 5 year programme of research exploring the impact of multicomponent support groups for those living with rare dementias. The team will be looking at the benefits of meeting other people living with a similar condition, and sharing practical and emotional support. This work is funded by the ESRC & NIHR, working collaboratively with members of Rare Dementia Support, researchers at Bangor University and Nipissing University, and many other partners.
Seb was awarded the 2015 Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Research Leader Award, and 2012 British Neuropsychological Society 10th Elizabeth Warrington Prize.
Find out more about Rare Dementia Support: http://www.raredementiasupport.org/
Find out more about Created Out of Mind’s residency at The Hub, Wellcome Collection: http://www.createdoutofmind.org/
EWG 9 - International Scientific Advisory Group
Chair - Professor Hugh Taylor
Melbourne Laureate Professor Hugh Taylor is the Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne. Previously he was Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne and the Founding Director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia Prior to that, he was a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health.
Professor Taylor's research interests include blindness prevention strategies, infectious causes of blindness and the development of health policy. His current work particularly focuses on Aboriginal eye health and the elimination of trachoma. Professor Taylor has written 30 books and reports including a recent book on trachoma, and more then 600 scientific papers. He has received multiple international awards and prizes. In 2001, he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia. He is President - Elect of the International Council of Ophthalmology, former Vice President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and Deputy Chairman for Vision 2020 Australia.