An image of the DNA double helix

Glaucoma is the leading cause of incurable sight loss globally, affecting over 80 million people. The number of people affected by glaucoma is predicted to increase by 50% in the next 20 years. There is a dire need to innovate glaucoma diagnosis and care to prevent sight loss.

We are funding Dr Anthony Khawaja to develop adoptable tools that will enable earlier detection and more effective glaucoma management.

The challenge

Current glaucoma screening tests are limited and can fail to detect early stages of the disease. As a result many patients have irreversible vision loss at point of diagnosis.

Even after diagnosis, many patients continue to lose vision despite current therapies. Over 5% of patients undergoing treatment have been reported to lose sight in both eyes within 10 years. Already stretched glaucoma services are therefore compelled to innovate to minimise sight loss.

Over 1 million

glaucoma related visits annually in the NHS

Finding a solution

Anthony will expand on his successful glaucoma genetics and artificial intelligence (AI) research programmes. He will combine state-of-art genetic information together with AI algorithms to build prediction tools that can be deployed in clinics to manage glaucoma efficiently. 

Anthony aims to develop and train algorithms that will organise and analyse large datasets routinely collected from glaucoma patients at Moorfields Eye Hospital. The resulting processing pipeline will be used to develop genomic prediction models for glaucoma risk and disease progression, and AI models for glaucoma diagnosis.

Stepwise scientific approach:

  1. Establish big data processing pipeline for Moorfields Eye Hospital glaucoma patients
  2. Create enhanced glaucoma database
  3. Develop genomic prediction models for glaucoma risk and disease progression
  4. Develop AI models for glaucoma diagnosis

The potential

The ultimate goal of this project is to combine the genetic and AI algorithms to create effective prediction and risk stratification tools. These will have the potential to enable paradigm-shifting innovation in glaucoma care. Effective population screening could prevent sight loss before diagnosis. Personalised glaucoma treatments could help preserve sight in high-risk patients while reducing treatment-associated side effects and costs in low-risk patients. 

Project Details

Funding scheme

Springboard award

Grant holder

Dr Anthony Khawaja

Area(s) of work

Glaucoma, Genetics/​inherited eye disorders

Award level


Start date

January 2021

Grant reference