Zoomed in image of eye retina

We're excited to announce that DEBRA have partnered with eyesight charity Fight For Sight to fund a small grant award to support early career research into vision loss in epidermolysis bullosa.

Fight for Sight is the UK’s largest charity funding pioneering eye research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

EB can cause eye problems due to blistering, dryness or erosion in the eyes, and in severe cases, lead to vision loss.

This is a joint small grant award offer up to £15,000 to clinical or research scientists to conduct stand-alone research projects for up to 12 months. The grant should be used to collect preliminary data, aiming to make novel research ideas more competitive for larger follow-on funding.

The deadline to apply for the grant is the 28th July 2022 at 5pm. Visit the Fight For Sight website to find out more or start your application here.

DEBRA Director of Research, Dr Sagair Hussain said: 

"We are really excited to launch this partnership with Fight For Sight to co-fund a small grant into eye-research in EB. This is the first time DEBRA has partnered with a non-EB organisation to fund research. EB can have a devastating effect on the eyes and this partnership will help us discover more about how EB affects vision and how we can treat the eyes to minimise vision loss in EB patients."

Partnerships are a key part of our new research strategy and are essential to deliver the changes we want to see for EB patients. Partnering with organisations outside of our traditional focus will help to bring new ways of thinking, ideas and expertise into EB. This grant also supports one of our goals to inspire and support the next generation of EB researchers to become leaders of the future.

You can read our new research strategy here.

How EB affects the eyes

Epidermolysis bullosa patients with junctional or recessive dystrophic EB are the most likely to develop eye problems as a result of their EB. 30% of JEB and 10% of RDEB patients scar within first 10 years which is the critical time of vision development.

Some of the eye problems EB can cause include: 

  • Corneal abrasion (a scratch on the cornea)
  • Infected abrasion or ulcer
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids causing irritation and redness)
  • Bands of conjunctiva or symblepharon (fusion between the globe and the inner surface of the eyelid.)
  • Watery eyes from clogged tear duct (obstruction)