W.I. February report


This month’s meeting was an informative look at the ‘Gift of Sight’ Appeal run by Southampton University to support research in the Faculty of Medicine. The research is led by Professor Andrew Lotery MD FRCOphth with assistance from the Eye Unit in Southampton General Hospital.

Ailsa Walter, a Community Fundraiser, gave an upbeat talk about eye infections which lead to blindness and duly warned us of the video slide showing how simple an injection in the eye really can be! I don’t know how many of us ladies looked away as I was nearly on the floor by now, but the presentation seemed to get stuck at this point even given Jenny’s excellent projector technique. Happily after three showings (by which time we were all accustomed to the ordeal) normal service was resumed!

Some interesting random facts:

  • There is no age restriction to donate to corneal transplants which restores sight
  • 1 in 50 people over 40 years has Glaucoma (the name for a group of eye problems)
  • The loss of central vision through AMD affects 25 million people worldwide
  • A sign you may have ‘wet’ AMD is distortion of straight lines
  • The drug Lucentis given monthly to combat some eye problems costs £800 per injection whereas the drug Avastin costs £80 per dose
  • Amoebic Keratitis, an infection caused by swimming or showering whilst wearing contact lens’ can cause blindness

So what has this small local charity achieved you may wonder? Gift of Sight has enabled a new scientist to start work on the possibility of using a virus to create gene therapy. It has furnished the new clinical trials area and helped to start a new injection suite which is a first in the UK. Due to its fundraising, one academic paper is published in prestigious Ophthalmic journals each month.

If you’d like to know more about this very worthwhile work see www.giftofsight.org.uk who would be delighted to receive any donations or legacies. One patient, Chris Browning said “The research undertaken by Andrew and his team will help improve the lives of thousands of people.”

Diary dates:

8th March, ‘Inspiring Women’ day to be held at Shawford Parish Hall. This will be 10 to 4 with coffee and lunch supplied.

16th March is our Jumble Sale which is truly an event to behold.

19th March is the WI Spring council Meeting @ Portsmouth.

13th April Open to all so please support our Scary Biscuits Dance night to bogey on down…

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th March at 7.30pm in Waltham Chase Village Hall.

And a note from our President Dianne – everyone has renewed their subscription so we must be doing something right!

By Wendy Ingamells

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