College of Optometrists to hold dementia and vision research event

4 February 2015

The College of Optometrists is hosting a Visual Impairment and Dementia Summit to generate ideas on how to turn the findings from research into recommendations that will improve lives. Following the event, the College will produce a report of the day’s proceedings.

The event, which will be co-hosted by Thomas Pocklington Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society, will share information about the most recent research projects that have investigated aspects of dementia and vision, or the impact of one on the other. It will also use the two Priority Setting Partnerships exercises (PSPs) previously undertaken in each area by the James Lind Alliance (JLA) and will explore which of those priorities are most relevant and important to people with concurrent dementia and visual impairment or sight loss. This is the first time two such PSPs have been brought together in this way.

Michael Bowen, Director of Research at the College, said: “With the older population growing, it is very important to bring these two research fields together, because we believe great progress can be made in directing research resources to the right places.

“Research projects – such as the College’s PrOVIDe study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research – are already producing evidence that relate to both visual impairment and dementia, and we thought it was very much time to organise something that would bring together past work and future plans in these two areas. We look forward to sharing what the day’s discussions produce.”

The risks of developing either dementia or visual impairment increase with age so a large proportion of people with dementia could potentially also be visually impaired. The event will explore the overlapping research priorities and identify any new research questions that emerge.

The event is being held in Euston, London, on Tuesday 24 February and will involve talks from carers and clinicians, presentations from recent research projects, and the findings from the two PSPs. This will be followed by a workshop session where facilitators will guide groups through the process of agreeing the key unanswered research questions for those with visual impairment and dementia. It will be attended by leading UK researchers in vision and dementia, clinicians and people with experience of dementia.

The event is invite-only and is now full. For any enquiries please email rosa.pepe@college-optometrists.org.

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