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Ophthalmologist Lola Solebo recognised for study into the management of avoidable childhood blindness

June 3, 2019

Lola Solebo, NIHR Moorfields BRC and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, has been awarded The Ulverscroft David Owen Prize by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Ulverscroft Foundation for the best piece of research published in paediatric ophthalmology over the past three years.

Focusing on congenital and infantile cataract the paper, published in the Lancet, highlights the findings of the IoLunder2 study. The study questions the much accepted practice of inserting Intraocular Lens (IoLs) in children under two years old to improve visual outcomes and reduce incidence of post-operative glaucoma.

Over a five-year period the IoLunder2 study, conducted through the British Isles Congenital Cataract Group (BCCIG) measured outcomes in children with IoLs for cataracts and found no independent association with either better visual outcomes or a reduction in incidences of post-operative glaucoma. In fact, the study found an increased risk of reoperation for visual axis opacity (VAO) – In other words a further risk to the child’s sight.

The use of IoLs in children of this age is widespread in paediatric ophthalmology despite lacking a robust evidence base for doing so. Lola Solebo’s paper, co-authored with Philippa Cumberland and Jugnoo Rahi on behalf of the BCCIG, provides a valuable evidence base for the management and policy of congenital and infantile cataract moving forward. With this condition being the most common cause of avoidable childhood blindness, and included as a World Health Organisation Vision 2020 priority, the impact of the paper is likely to be significant and far reaching.

Mike Burdon, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists said, ‘The firm conclusions drawn by the IoLunder2 study will have significant impact for paediatric practice in the UK and further afield. The work undertaken by Lola Solebo and her co-authors is likely to prove important in the fight against avoidable childhood blindness for many years to come.’

Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Ulverscroft Foundation, and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

About The Royal College of Ophthalmologists

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) is the only professional body for eye doctors, who are medically qualified and have undergone or are undergoing specialist training in the prevention, treatment and management of eye disease, including surgery. Ophthalmologists are at the forefront of eye health services because of their extensive training and experience.

As an independent membership organisation, we pride ourselves on providing impartial and clinically based evidence, putting patient care and safety at the heart of everything we do and we collaborate with a wide range of organisations to influence national eye health policy and benefits patients and the profession of ophthalmology.

Ulverscroft Foundation: David Owen Prize

The Ulverscroft Foundation was founded as a charity in 1973 to help visually impaired people. It supports research into the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, and funds medical equipment and facilities. One of the Foundation’s flagship projects is the Ulverscroft Vision Research Group based at UCL and led by Jugnoo Rahi. The Foundation also funds eye clinics and hospitals in developing countries and supports organisations that improve the quality of life for vision-impaired people. This prize is a tribute to the work of the late Chair David Owen and his work in supporting the creation of the Ulverscroft Vision Research Group and its role in paediatric ophthalmology. For any enquiries relating to the Ulverscroft Foundation and its work please contact Joyce Sumner via

For all press enquiries, please contact:
Jack Bellamy, Communications Co-ordinator – The Royal College of Ophthalmologists | 020 3770 5336

Editor’s notes:

  • Ameenat Lola Solebo, Philippa Cumberland, Jugnoo S Rahi (2018), 5-year outcomes after primary intraocular lens implantation in children aged 2 years or younger with congenital or infantile cataract: findings from the IoLunder2 prospective inception cohort study, Lancet Child Adolescent Health 2018; 2: 863–71. Click here for full article.
  • The Lancet podcast, October 2018