A new website, Gene Vision (https://gene.vision), has been developed by Professor Mariya Moosajee and Dr Alex Yeong, supported by Dr Peter Thomas (Director of Digital Innovation at Moorfields Eye Hospital). The new site is intended for adults, children and their families who are diagnosed with rare genetic eye diseases.
The site includes in-depth condition-specific information for patients and their families as well as current research and clinical trials. It will also act as a resource for clinicians and allied healthcare professionals who are diagnosing patients, as well as those in earlier career stages learning about the conditions themselves. In addition, it is anticipated that the site will be used by GPs and other referring specialists so that they can learn more about their patient’s condition quickly and easily, whilst understanding how to provide the best care plan.
Genetic disorders are rare, but together they affect 1 in 25 children in the UK , and contribute to more than 60% of blindness among infants worldwide . Inherited retinal diseases are the commonest cause of blindness among working-age adults generating a huge burden for those with the disease and their families .
“It can be devastating for those receiving rare genetic diagnoses, and frequently patients are not provided with the accurate information they need. Unfortunately, there is also a lack of professional knowledge so patients are not always signposted to relevant resources for information and support, or offered the appropriate investigations, nor information on the latest research and trials, which could really benefit them in the short and long term,” says Professor Moosajee.
“Families deserve to know whether the condition could reoccur in future pregnancies or be passed on to the next generation, or if there are clinical trials they could access. Receiving a genetic diagnosis can cause a great deal of anxiety and worry, hence we needed to develop a trustworthy open-access knowledge resource that complements other credible and accurate information already out there, like the Retina UK website.”
Gene Vision provides in-depth information on conditions and specific genes in a searchable format. There is opportunity to find out about the latest research, external support including specific charities. In addition, an overview of the eye anatomy is provided to give context for those without prior insight.
Gene Vision has been jointly supported and funded by the The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Retina UK, a charity which works for people with inherited sight loss. Key medical charities including Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia, Coloboma Support, Aniridia Network, International WAGR Syndrome Association, Nystagmus Network and others have also inputted on content.
The website has been tested by patients with differing levels of sight loss, who use a range of digital accessibility software and magnification devices, together with parents of affected children and health care professionals. It has also had formal design input by digital accessibility consultants who suffer from genetic eye disease themselves. This website is also mobile friendly and so can be accessed anywhere.
Dr Yeong who led on the project said, “I am really proud of what has been achieved with Gene Vision and I am excited to hear from some of the patients and their families who will benefit from it now.”
- Jeans for Genes; http://www.jeansforgenes.us.com accessed 17.11.20
- Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17130-eye-disease-inherited--genetic accessed 17.11.20
- Liew G, Michaelides M, Bunce C. A comparison of the causes of blindness certifications in England and Wales in working age adults (16–64 years), 1999–2000 with 2009–2010. BMJ Open 2014;4(2):e004015.