AMD Research Study is calling for volunteers!

Do you have dry age-related macular degeneration? Or are you over 65 years of age with no macular degeneration? If so and you would like to participate in an exciting research study that is looking at the role of a person’ sleep-wake cycle, read on.

About the research study

A team of researchers at Trinity College Dublin are undertaking a new research study to better understand age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in those aged over 50. It causes gradual loss of central vision which we need for detailed work like reading, recognising faces and driving. There are two types of AMD, Dry and Wet. This research study is focusing on Dry AMD, the most common form of macular degeneration. At present, there is no treatment for Dry AMD but lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and taking multi-vitamins is recommended.

Unfortunately, we still do not fully understand everything about how and why AMD develops. This study aims to investigate this further. The researchers at Trinity College Dublin believe that changes in the retina, the thin layer at the back of your eye, are related to each person’s sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). The eye appears to use the time while you sleep to prepare for the next day. The team at Trinity College wish to explore whether changes in this normal process can play a role in AMD. For the last 12 months, the same scientists have been studying this theory in healthy people aged between 18 and 30 years old. This has delivered some interesting outcomes and has been well received both nationally and internationally. The next step, however, is to study this theory in people affected with AMD.

The knowledge gained from this study will not only help us have a greater understanding of the condition but it may also allow doctors to tailor treatments for AMD in the future.

Eligibility criteria for affected and healthy persons

This study is recruiting both male and female patients with and without Dry AMD. For those affected with Dry AMD, the person can be at any stage of the condition, be that at the very early stages or at a more advance stage.

For those unaffected, this study is also recruiting those over 65 years old who do not have AMD but would like to participate in the study.

However, if you have another condition affecting your vision such as glaucoma or have been treated with injections into the eye for AMD or another eye condition you will unfortunately be unable to volunteer.

What does the study involve?

The study will take place at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin. You will undergo some imaging tests, many of which you may have had before. As this study is looking at changes related to the sleep-wake cycle, you will be asked to come into the clinic on two separate occasions. This means once in the morning and once in the evening. However, this will be done on separate days. In total, it should take less than an hour each day.

  • Before the first day, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about yourself, your health and your sleep habits.
  • Pictures of the back of the eye will be taken and these images will be reviewed by an ophthalmologist (a specialist eye doctor). Please note, that if we detect something that needs further discussion you will be notified.
  • You will receive eye drops which allow your pupils to become enlarged and allow the doctor to gain a clear view of the back of your eye.
  • A doctor will take some blood samples and you will have a cannula (a drip) in the vein. You will receive an intravenous dye called fluorescein which allows us to visualize the vessels in your retina.
  • You will be advised to be careful leaving the hospital as the eye drops can affect your vision for 4-5 hours. You will be unable to drive until the effects of these drops have subsided.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact us:

Dr Aisling Naylor

Phone number: 0860589083