Image of an adult and a young person, both wearing masks.

We’re funding a PhD studentship involved in important research by Dr Michael Crossland, examining the impact of inherited macular disease on wellbeing and mental health with aims to develop a tailored package to help young people who may need support.

The challenge

Sight loss can have a significant emotional and psychological impact on people’s lives. Mental health issues have been well-documented in adults with sight loss. 

However, little is known about the wellbeing of young people who have been recently diagnosed with, or are living with, vision loss.


adults with vision impairment have signs of clinical depression, anxiety and PTSD, which is greatly elevated relative to the general population.

1 in 6

young people in England (aged 5-16) experienced a mental health problem in 2020. (NHS Digital 2020 - Wave 1)

Finding a solution

Dr Crossland, optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and senior research fellow at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, is working with a multidisciplinary team including psychologists, a psychotherapist, ophthalmologists, a paediatrician, a specialist teacher and the parent of a young person with inherited macular disease.

What is macular disease?

Learn more

Various painless conditions that impact the central retina, known as the macula, located at the rear of the eye, fall under the term macular disease’. These conditions differ in terms of their frequency, underlying causes, and available treatment.

The spectrum of macular diseases includes:

  • Stargardt disease
  • Vitelliform macular dystrophy and Best disease
  • Central serous chorioretinopathy
  • Epiretinal membrane (macular pucker)
  • Macular hole
  • Macular telangiectasia
  • Myopic macular degeneration
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Retinal vein occlusion
  • Vitreomacular traction syndrome
  • Posteriour vitreous detachment (PVD) with floaters

Alongside the team, the PhD student is investigating the impact of vision loss on wellbeing, participation, social connectedness, quality of life, depression and anxiety. 

Working with young people and their parents and carers, they’re determining what type of support will be required to maximise wellbeing and mental health in these people.

The potential

The aim of this study is to create a useful package of support developed by service-users which will improve patients’ wellbeing.

Project Details

Funding scheme

PhD studentship

Grant holder

Dr Michael Crossland

Area(s) of work

Paediatrics, patient experience

Award level


Start date

September 2023

Grant reference