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Introducing… the Leicester Grading System for Foveal Hypoplasia

A team of eye researchers have published the first medical grading system named after the city of Leicester. The University of Leicester Ulverscroft Eye Unit, headed by Professor Irene Gottlob, have produced a grading system for foveal hypoplasia (underdevelopment of the retina) which is commonly associated with infantile nystagmus. The Leicester Grading System for Foveal Hypoplasia can support clinicians with diagnosis, prognosis and clinical decision making in infantile nystagmus.

The study has been published in Ophthalmology, the highest impact clinical journal in the field. This is the world’s first longitudinal study using handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) to predict future vision in infantile nystagmus.

The lead investigator was Dr Sohaib Rufai, NIHR Doctoral Fellow and Specialty Registrar in Ophthalmology. Co-investigators were Dr Mervyn Thomas, Mr Ravi Purohit, Dr Catey Bunce (King’s College London), Associate Professor Helena Lee (University of Southampton) and Associate Professor Frank Proudlock. Professor Irene Gottlob was the chief investigator, responsible for supervising the study, which took place between 2012 and 2018.

The University of Leicester Ulverscroft Eye Unit was the first centre in Europe to obtain handheld OCT technology in 2012, and has since established itself as a leader in the field. In 2011, Dr Mervyn Thomas and colleagues developed a structural grading system for foveal hypoplasia based on conventional OCT data from adults and older children. The latest study by Dr Rufai and colleagues has benefitted from handheld OCT technology to update and validate the grading system using infant OCT data over a six year period. This grading system is the first published medical grading system to be named after the city of Leicester.

  • Can structural grading of foveal hypoplasia predict future vision in infantile nystagmus? A longitudinal study, doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.10.037
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