A new AI tool has sparked hope in the fight against premature blindness. Scientists from around the world have developed an advanced artificial intelligence system that utilises deep learning. This innovative technology has the capability to pinpoint infants who are susceptible to retinopathy, a condition that, if neglected, could lead to vision loss.

Read on to discover more about Retinopathy of Prematurity, and how the new ground-breaking AI tool may help to prevent premature blindness.

What is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)?

ROP is a condition that can affect infants born prematurely. It is known to contribute towards the vision loss of approximately 50,000 children worldwide.

In a preterm infant the blood vessels in the retina have not yet fully developed. Babies are screened by ophthalmologists in the neonatal unit to check how these blood vessels are growing. For some infants, there is an abnormal growth of vessels and this can lead to retinal detachment and blindness if it is not treated in-time. Over time, there has been an evolution of our understanding of this condition and guidelines have been developed that identify which babies need screening, and at what point a baby needs treatment.

You can’t see the signs of retinopathy just by looking at a baby’s eyes. The only way to spot it is to screen infants individually using a special headlight, lens and a doctor trained in screening for this condition. However, thanks to the new AI tool, detecting the condition could soon become much easier.

New AI tool to detect retinopathy

A research team has designed an advanced deep learning AI model to detect retinopathy. A total of 7,414 eye images from 1,370 newborns treated at Homerton Hospital, London, were used to train the AI. The hospital caters to a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population, which was beneficial to the study as the condition varies across different ethnic groups.

Once the AI tool had been trained, it was tested using an additional 200 images. Its performance was compared to that of experienced ophthalmologists. The tool was also tested on datasets from the US, Brazil, and Egypt. Results showed that the AI was as proficient as senior paediatric ophthalmologists in detecting potentially blinding retinopathy.

Even though the tool was primarily optimised for a UK demographic, its effectiveness on other continents is encouraging. Developed as a code-free deep learning platform, the tool can be fine-tuned for new settings even by those who don’t have any prior coding knowledge.

Treating retinopathy

Options for treating ROP include laser surgery or injections into the eye. These innovative techniques work by targeting and eliminating the abnormal blood vessels, thereby preventing additional deterioration of vision.

Laser surgery is a sophisticated procedure. It requires the precision and expertise of a well-trained ophthalmologist and potentially saves a patient from vision loss.

Mr. Imran Jawaid is a highly qualified and experienced ophthalmologist with a proven track record in treating retinopathy using laser surgery. His vast experience, combined with his compassionate approach to patient care, ensures that you will receive the best possible treatment. Schedule an appointment with Mr Jawaid today.

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as a lazy eye, is a common condition in children. Without early medical intervention, it prevents the development of normal, healthy vision. Typically affecting just one eye, it is often caused by other eye and vision issues, such as refractive errors, a droopy eyelid, and cataracts.

Researchers at the University of Huddersfield are currently hoping to raise awareness of amblyopia with a study into the visual acuity of children of different ages. There is also a revolutionary new treatment being developed to effectively combat the condition. Discover more about the latest research and what it means for the future of amblyopia treatment below.

New treatment for amblyopia in the works

The FDA has recently approved a new amblyopia treatment device developed by industry leaders NovaSight. The device, known as CureSight, has shown exceptional promise in recent studies, which compared it to the traditional gold standard treatment of patching.

Findings showed the group using CureSight had better results than patching. In this group, 80% of the participants experienced an improvement of two lines, while only 60% of those in the control patching group achieved the same improvement.

The new device is an eye tracking system that aims to train the patient to use both eyes simultaneously. Now that it has FDA clearance, the treatment will soon be an effective alternative to eye patching.

Current research hopes to raise awareness of amblyopia

Researchers at the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Vision across the Life Span (CVLS) are on a mission to increase awareness about the importance of children’s eye health as well as early diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia. As part of a new study, they are providing free vision screenings to over 1000 primary school students in Kirklees.

The study is assessing the visual acuity of children of varying ages, examining their ability to see small letters, differentiate between closely spaced letters, such as those within a word, and understand the relationship between these visual measures and reading speed.

The assessments will adhere to the standard NHS vision screening protocol for children between four and five years old. They will also evaluate additional aspects of vision and reading for a broader age range, including children from three to 11 years old.

Through this study, the researchers aim to determine how test-taking skills develop with age and their influence on learning to read.

What is amblyopia?

Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is a common eye disorder that impacts vision. It causes one eye to have diminished vision during infancy or childhood, and if left untreated, the condition can worsen.

In a child with amblyopia, one eye experiences blurry vision while the other maintains clear vision. As a result, the brain starts to disregard the blurred eye and depends solely on the eye with better vision. As the brain becomes more reliant on the stronger eye, it causes further deterioration in the weaker eye.

If you are concerned your child is suffering with amblyopia, book a consultation with consultant ophthalmologist and children’s eye specialist, Mr Imran Jawaid.

A recent study published in JAMA by researchers in Hong Kong, suggests that the use of dilating eye drops in children may delay, or even prevent the onset of myopia. Myopia, or near-sightedness, can lead to a range of vision problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, and is irreversible once it develops.

The incidence of myopia has increased significantly in recent decades, nearly doubling in the US population from 25% to nearly 42% since the 1970s. Children have been particularly affected. Experts believe that spending more time indoors and increased screen time may be contributing to the trend.

Early intervention through the use of dilating eye drops may be an effective strategy for preventing the progression of myopia and reducing the risk of associated vision problems.

Understanding the latest study

A new study enrolled 474 children who did not have myopia at the start, with 353 completing the study after receiving nightly eye drops in both eyes for 2 years.

The study measured vision changes using the dioptre unit of measure and found that eye drops containing 0.05% atropine are more effective than drops with lower concentrations. These eye drops can slow the progression of myopia in children aged 4-12 who already have the condition. Atropine works by dilating the pupil and temporarily paralysing the eye’s ability to change focus.

Children in this new study received either 0.05% atropine, 0.01% atropine, or placebo drops once nightly in both eyes for 2 years. After 2 years, the researchers found that only 33/116 (28.4%) of the 0.05% atropine group developed myopia.

The percentage of children with myopia in the placebo group was larger than in the 0.05% atropine group by the end of the study. Discomfort when exposed to bright light was the main adverse event reported in all treatment groups. Another side effect that can be experienced at higher concentrations of atropine (can be up to 1%) is difficulties with near vision.

Other ways to prevent and delay myopia

Myopia is a growing problem worldwide and is not just a matter of inconvenience or the need for corrective lenses. It can also increase the risk of developing vision-threatening eye conditions later in life.

There are several steps parents can take to help prevent or manage myopia in their children. One approach is to decrease the duration of near vision tasks and ensure that their children take frequent breaks. Additionally, doctors recommend that children spend 60-80 minutes each day outdoors to give the eye muscles a chance to relax.

Importantly, by scheduling regular eye exams with your child’s eye doctor, they will be able to detect myopia in the early stages and can offer different treatments. This can involve specialised multifocal eyeglasses or contact lenses, or the use of eye drops, to control the progression of the condition.

By taking proactive steps to manage myopia, parents can help their children maintain good eye health and reduce the risk of complications later in life. This latest research is an exciting development and could potentially help reduce the rates of myopia in children.

If you are concerned your child may have myopia, book an appointment with Mr Imran Jawaid. He will check your child’s eye health, and if myopia is diagnosed, he can discuss with you a low-dose atropine treatment plan.

Meta-analysis of 51 clinical trials and studies has revealed that outdoor play can help to protect eye health in children.

It has long been theorised by the eyecare community that spending time outdoors can help to protect against both the development and progression of myopia. This new research aimed to better understand previous studies and determine whether outdoor play could protect the eye health of our children.

Here, we will look at what the study revealed, as well as discuss what myopia is and the current treatment options available for your child’s eyes.

What did the new study reveal?

The study carried out by researchers in China, analysed 51 studies and clinical trials. It revealed that children who spend around 8.9 hours playing outdoors each week, were 50% less likely to develop myopia.

Interestingly, the study also found that younger children benefitted more from time spent outdoors. For example, children who are six years old will experience greater eye protection from playing outdoors than 11–12-year-old children. It is theorised that younger children may be at a crucial stage in their development leaving them more susceptible to environmental ocular changes.

It is worth noting that these results are based on children who do not currently have myopia. For already myopic eyes, the study didn’t provide evidence whether increased time spent outdoors could slow down the progression of the condition.

Limitations were identified within the meta-analysis. A total of 17 studies were carried out in East Asian countries. These were countries where myopia is most common. Other studies came from the USA, UK, Turkey, and Australia.

What is myopia?

Myopia is also referred to as near-sightedness. The common condition means that you can clearly see any objects in front of you, but they become blurry as they are moved further away. It is thought to develop due to light rays bending incorrectly due to the shape of the eye. This in turn causes images to focus in front of your retina, rather than onto it directly.

The condition is typically detected in childhood, though it can also develop gradually during adolescence. The main symptoms of myopia include:

  • Blurred distance vision
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Eye strain or fatigue

If you suspect your child may have myopia, an eye examination can be carried out to detect the condition.

Treatment options available for myopia

Spectacles or contact lenses which correct the myopia are used to improve vision. We know that myopia progresses throughout childhood and spectacles are updated as it does so. Emerging interventions to slow down the progression of myopia are now available. These include special spectacle lenses and contact lenses (hard and soft) and low concentration atropine eye drops. These can be used once a day, ideally before bedtime, and they are known to slow down the progression of the condition.

To learn more about low-dose atropine drops and whether they could be a good option for your child’s eyes, book a consultation with Mr Imran Jawaid today.

Lazy eye, medically referred to as Amblyopia, is a condition that affects approximately 1 in every 50 children in the UK. Usually, it develops before a child turns eight years of age when their vision is still developing. However, it can be difficult to spot.

Amblyopia can be caused by an uncorrected refractive error, Strabismus (eye misalignment) or when the vision is obscured by cataracts or another condition.

If you are concerned your child may have a lazy eye, here you’ll discover some of the key signs to watch out for.

Common signs of a lazy eye

Understanding the symptoms of a lazy eye can help to catch the condition early. Here’s some of the most common signs of a lazy eye to pay attention to…

Asymptomatic – Often, if there is no visible abnormality to the eye there will be no symptoms. Therefore, it is very important that every child has their free NHS eye test with an optometrist. Generally, this should be fine at the age of 4-5 years or reception year in school.

Difficulty reading – If your child refuses to read, or has a hard time reading, it could be a sign of a lazy eye. They may lose their place easily, add words into the sentence, or have to consistently re-read words.

A lazy eye requires more focus when reading. This can cause the eyes to become fatigued and can prove stressful for your child. Of course, difficulty with reading can also be a sign of other conditions such as dyslexia. Therefore, it is difficult to diagnose the condition from this symptom alone.

Frequently rubbing, squinting, or closing one eye – When your child is outside on a bright sunny day, do they squint, rub or regularly close one eye? This could indicate that one of their eyes is weaker than the other one.

Accident prone – Children with a lazy eye can have difficulties with depth perception. This can cause them to fall over frequently and become accident prone. It can also make it difficult to play sports and keep up with peers.

Turning their head to one side – Amblyopia tends to only impact one eye. When watching TV or paying attention to something, your child may turn their head to one side in order to see better through their more dominant eye.

If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye based upon these symptoms, it’s time to seek a medical diagnosis. If it is confirmed, there are some great effective treatments available that can help.

What are the treatment options for lazy eye?

There are several treatment options to help combat a lazy eye including spectacles, patching and atropine drops.

They are designed to build on eye-brain connections. This in turn helps to boost key visual skills that are required for binocular vision (using both eyes simultaneously to see clearly).

Both patches and eye drops are used to cover or blur the good eye. This causes the lazy eye to work harder, building up strength and improving vision.

In some cases, surgery may be required. This can be carried out to strengthen or weaken the eye muscles to improve binocularity. It is performed under general anaesthetic as a day case in most instances. Mr Jawaid can offer strabismus surgery using adjustable sutures as well as small-incision (fornix) squint surgery.

A lazy eye is easily treatable, but it can cause the loss of vision in the eye if it is left untreated. To find out which treatment option is right for your child, book a consultation with Mr Jawaid today.

Glaucoma is typically a condition that is associated with ageing. However, according to Glaucoma UK, around five in every 100,000 children are born with childhood glaucoma. In most cases, children are diagnosed with glaucoma before their first birthday.

While receiving the news that your child has glaucoma can be concerning, there are effective treatments that can help save their sight. As Glaucoma Week is a March awareness week, we are shining a light on this condition and the treatment options available.

What is childhood glaucoma?

Childhood glaucoma is a rare condition, also referred to as infantile, paediatric, or congenital glaucoma. It occurs due to high pressure in the eye and is split into two different types:

  • Primary childhood glaucoma – Diagnosed when the condition isn’t linked to any other illness
  • Secondary childhood glaucoma – Diagnosed when the condition is caused by another illness or injury

Caused when the drainage system of the eye develops abnormally, the condition leaves the clear fluid of the eye (aqueous humour) unable to drain correctly. This causes the pressure in the eye to increase, potentially damaging the optic nerve.

If left untreated, childhood glaucoma could lead to permanent blindness.

Symptoms of childhood glaucoma

In many cases, children are born with childhood glaucoma. However, it is typically diagnosed before the age of three. While symptoms will vary depending upon the severity of the condition, the main signs to watch out for are:

  • Cloudy corneas
  • Large eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Hiding from bright light or squeezing eyelids

If your child displays any of these symptoms you should seek advice from your doctor or specialist. The earlier childhood glaucoma is detected, the higher the chance of saving their vision.

Childhood glaucoma is diagnosed through various tests and examinations, including Tonometry to measure the eye’s intraocular pressure.

How is it treated?

There have been significant improvements made in recent years in terms of the treatments available for childhood glaucoma. However, treatment options depend on the underlying cause.

Medications tend to be the first line of treatment, such as eye drops. They help by reducing the pressure in the eye temporarily, enabling safer levels to be achieved. Although surgery is often required, with timely treatment and follow-ups to continue monitoring vision and eye changes, many children can continue their lives with good vision.

There are several surgical techniques, including laser surgery, that can be carried out to permanently correct childhood glaucoma. Consultant ophthalmologist Mr Jawaid is a paediatric specialist and he can help you determine which treatment type is suitable for your child.

If you are concerned about childhood glaucoma, get in touch to book a consultation by calling 0115 924 9924.


Good vision and healthy eyes play an important role in infant development so baby eye health will be checked several times throughout the first hours, weeks, and months of their life to identify any issues.

In the UK, checking your baby’s eyes for any health problems is part of a routine newborn physical examination. There is then a follow-up physical examination performed between six and eight weeks by your GP.

Checking Baby Eye Health

Eye-related health issues in new-born babies are rare but can include:

  1. Strabismus: Some babies develop strabismus, commonly known as a squint. This presents as either a constant or occasional misalignment of the eyes. Treatment may include glasses, patching and surgery to align the eyes. It is essential that any baby with a squint gets a specialist to look for the cause of the squint to check for the cause.
  2. Cataracts: congenital cataracts are a rare condition affecting newborns. It is tested for using the ‘red reflex test’ in their first check-up. If there is a cause for concern, there will be a follow-up at hospital within the first few weeks after birth.
  3. Teary or watery eyes: newborn babies do not have the capacity to produce tears at first and this usually develops after a few weeks. You may then notice their eyes seem constantly teary which is the result of a blocked tear duct. This will usually resolve itself in the first year and is not a cause for concern. But if the eye becomes red and swollen then it could be a sign of infection.
  4. Conjunctivitis: in newborns this is called ophthalmia neonatorum and presents as swollen eyelids, redness of the eye and sticky discharge. You should see your GP as soon as possible to prevent any long-term damage to the eye.

Mr Imran Jawaid is a consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in paediatric ophthalmology and the treatment of strabismus. To arrange a consultation, call 0115 924 9924.




Children in the UK are twice as likely to be short sighted than 50 years ago and nearly one in five teenagers are now myopic. Yet, these figures may soar as a result of Covid and the extra screen time and e-learning measures adopted during the first couple of years of the pandemic.

Constant screen time changes the shape of eyes; focusing on near objects like our phones or laptops causes the eyeballs to elongate, preventing the eye from bending light in the way it is supposed to and resulting in worsening myopia.

Last year, Chinese researchers tested over 120,000 children aged six to eight that had spent many months confined at home under full quarantine restrictions. They found that myopia and other vision issues increased up to three times compared to the previous five years.

While glasses or contact lenses can correct near vision, there are other issues associated with childhood myopia which makes it important to prevent it worsening. The elongating of the eyeball can cause the retina to thin and crack, leading to irreversible vision loss (myopic maculopathy), as well as increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts.

Steps you can take to slow down the progression of myopia

  • Take regular breaks: allowing the eyes to regularly rest, blink and lubricate is essential. Adopting the 20-20-20 model could be useful. This advises you to look at a distance of 20 feet, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
  • Screen distance matters: if the screen is closer to you the eyes have to work harder to focus on it so it’s advisable to work on a bigger screen that is positioned at arm’s length.
  • Go outside: studies have shown that increased time outdoors decreases the onset and may decrease the progression of myopia.
  • Routine eye exams: an optometrist can identify any vision problems or underlying health conditions and help manage myopia.

Another option is low-dose atropine. Numerous clinical studies have shown low-dose atropine slows down the progression of childhood myopia, with minimal side effects.

For more advice on atropine drops for the treatment of childhood myopia, call 0115 924 9924 to arrange a consultation with Mr Imran Jawaid.