Background

What is dry AMD?

Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a slow deterioration of the cells of the macula. The macula is part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is responsible for all of our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail of what we see. The term dry does not mean the person has dry eyes, just that the condition is not wet AMD.

How did the 'Eating for Eye Health' project begin?

"There are limited options upon a diagnosis of dry AMD, which threatens central vision and quality of life. Doctors are often limited to giving lifestyle advice about eye protection or counsel that dry AMD may further progress to the wet form of AMD. For many, this is a frustrating situation. As a doctor I am very aware of the adverse impact of dry AMD and I wanted to raise awareness of the research that suggests nutrition may help protect against the progression of AMD and then encourage patients to cook and eat food that could support eye health" - Doctor Rose Gilbert

Who was involved?

Dr Rose Gilbert, a Clinical Fellow and PhD research student, with Ms Susana Irving (a clinical and research nutritionist who works at UCH/ Barts) and they had additional support from The UCL Public Engagement Unit. Rose was successful in gaining a UCL Beacon Bursary" to plan and fund the project.

What happened during the project?

“Eating for Eye Health” consisted of two phases:

- The first phase involved a patient and family member focus group event to discuss the relationship between nutrition and eye health, and to find out patients’ views on diet, in addition to a food tasting. Together we compiled a list of appealing antioxidant-rich recipes.

- The second phase included a community kitchen project where we brought together patients and people from the local community to socialise, prepare some of the recipes and to eat together.

Read more about the focus group and community kitchen day here.