Education

University of Leicester researcher wins Paediatric and World Ophthalmology Registrar's Prize

Dr Sohaib Rufai from the Ulverscroft Eye Unit won the prestigious award for a cutting-edge grading system

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 July 2017
Photograph of Dr Sohaib Rufai can be downloaded at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mg0i5arwb61jxt6/sohaib%20rufai.jpg?dl=0

The University of Leicester’s Ulverscroft Eye Unit has conducted the world’s first longitudinal cohort study using a modified grading system for the underdevelopment of infants’ retinas.
Leicester’s pioneering technique uses a handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner to produce ultra-high resolution 3D images of infants’ eyes. Foveal hypoplasia is an uncommon medical condition that affects the fovea; the central part of the eye’s retina consisting of cone-shaped cells that are responsible for vision. As well as affecting vision directly, problems with an infant’s foveas can also be the cause of nystagmus, or ‘dancing eyes’, whereby the infant’s eyes move involuntarily.
The Leicester Grading System for Foveal Hypoplasia in Infants, developed by the University’s Ulverscroft Eye Unit, can forecast future vision in patients with infantile nystagmus and may provide crucial information for new therapies.
Leicester was the first centre in the UK and Europe to receive the handheld OCT scanner. Dr Sohaib Rufai, an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Ophthalmology, led this cohort study supervised by Professor Irene Gottlob, professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Leicester. Dr Rufai presented these findings at the Paediatric and World Ophthalmology Meeting in Sheffield last month. At the event Dr Rufai’s presentation was awarded the Registrar’s Prize for Best Oral Presentation and he received £200 prize money.
Dr Rufai said: “It was humbling to receive this prize for presenting this exciting and promising study. The full credit must go to my supervisors Professor Irene Gottlob and Dr Frank Proudlock, as well as my colleagues Dr Mervyn Thomas, Dr Helena Lee and Mr Ravi Purohit. We hope this work will benefit patients with infantile nystagmus and we shall endeavour to continue our efforts here in Leicester.”
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