James Loughman:  Research

phone: +353 1 402 2841
email: james.loughman@dit.ie


Research Funding

Research Grants Awarded - Total - €4,182,836

Principal Investigator Funding - €3,330,722

Co-Investigator Funding - €852,114

2013 Polymer Sciences Limited: Polysoft Comfort Trial 2013-14 - €43,050             

          Prof James Loughman (PI), Ms. Eva Doyle, Mr. Declan Hovenden

2012 Irish Aid / HEA Grant: Human resources Development for Eye Health 2012 – 2015 - €637,572
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms Aoife Phelan, Dr. Luigi Bilotto, Mr. Lucky Mhango, Ms jyoti Jaggernath, Prof. Kovin Naidoo

2012 Howard Foundation / Macuvision Europe: Macular Pigment & Glaucoma - €36,300
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Dr. We Fong Siah, Prof. Colm O’ Brien

2011 Association of Optometrists Ireland – Glaucoma Shared Care - €7,400
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms. Catriona Barrett

2010 World Council of Optometry Fellowship - €3,000
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms. Kajal Shah

2010 Simon Cumbers Media Fund - €6,000
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms. Aoife Phelan

2009 Association of Optometrists Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Fund - €7,400
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms. Grainne Scanlon

2008 Irish Aid / HEA Grant: Mozambique Eyecare Project 2008 - 2013" - €2.41million
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms Eva Doyle, Dr. Peter Davison, Ms. Patricia Mordaunt, Prof Kovin Naidoo

2007 Bausch & Lomb Licence Agreement for COMPASS IP - €120,000
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Mr. Tom Flanagan, Prof Stephen Beatty, Dr. John Nolan

2007 Enterprise Ireland/Bausch & Lomb Innovation Partnership - lead Scientist for "Visual Performance and Macular Pigment 2007 - 2010" - (Enterprise Ireland - €386,163; Bausch & Lomb - €315,951) - €702,114
Prof. Stephen Beatty (PI), Dr. James Loughman, Dr. John Nolan

2006 Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin - Research postgraduate fund - €60,000
Dr. James Loughman (PI), Ms Sinead Ni Laoire, Prof. Colm O’Brien

2005 D.I.T. RSU TERS Grant, “ Health, Lifestyle and the Habitat”, €100,000
Dr. William Grimson (PI), Mr. James Loughman

2003 D.I.T. RSU TERS Team Building grant, “Applied Ocular Sciences Research at DIT”, €50,000
Dr. James Walsh (PI), Mr. James Loughman, Ms. Linda Moore

Patented Inventions

Improvements in or relating to visual performance and/or macular pigmentation. WO Patent 2,013,005,037

Visual performance and/or macular pigmentation. US Patent 20,130,011,486

IP License / Assignment Agreements

Bausch & Lomb – COMPASS Trial 2007

Howard Foundation – Macular Pigment and Glaucoma Trial 2012

Polymer Sciences – Polysoft Comfort Trial 2013

Research Management

Chair, Data Safety Monitoring Committee, CREST project, Waterford Institute of Technology, 2013-17

Principal investigator for Irish Aid/Higher Education Authority research project entitled "Human Resources Development for Eye Health (HRDEH) – 2012-2015

Director, Macular Pigment Research Group, Dublin Institute of Technology Vision Research Laboratory

Senior Vision Scientist, Institute of Vision Research

Vision Scientist, Vision Working Group, TILDA, Trinity College Dublin

National Optometry Centre, Ireland – Audit Committee member 2010.

Principal investigator for Irish Aid/Higher Education Authority research project entitled "Mozambique Eyecare Project 2008-2013"

Lead Scientist (DIT) for Enterprise Ireland / Bausch & Lomb "Macular Pigment and Visual Performance - COMPASS" innovation partnership

Irish African Partnership Executive Committee Member

Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Cooperation Project Leaders Committee Member

Founder member of the management board for the D.I.T. collaborative healthcare initiative” Health, Lifestyle and the Habitat”

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Current Postgraduate Research Supervision

(1) Evaluation of a V2020 training program to develop Optometry Technicians in Mozambique.
MPhil project, Student: Ms. Kajal Shah         
Study Funding: World Council of Optometry

(2) An Evaluation of the regional School of Optometry in Mozambique: Lessons for the expansion of the educational model.
PhD Project, Student: Ms. Diane Wallace                               
Study Funding: Irish Aid

(3) Development of a National Child Eye Care Strategy for Mozambique.
PhD project, Student: Ms. Aoife Phelan                                  
Study Funding: Irish Aid

(4) Policies and Legislative Framework for an undergraduate optometry training program in Mozambique.
PhD project, Student: Ms. Vanessa Moodley                           
Study Funding: Irish Aid

(5) Glaucoma Care in the Community.
MPhil Project, Student: Ms Catriona Barrett
Study Funding: Association of   Optometrists Ireland

(6) Macular Pigment & Glare Disability in Glaucoma
MD Project, Student: Dr. We Fong Siah
Study Funding: Howard Foundation

(7)  Macular pigment in at-risk groups.
PhD project: Ms. Grainne Scanlon
Study Funding: Self-funded


Postgraduate Projects Supervised to Completion

(1) Development of Guidelines regarding the relevance and clinical application of macular pigment to Ophthalmic Practice
MPhil Award: Ms. Grainne Scanlon                             
Study Funding: Association of Optometrists Ireland

(2) Visual Performance and Macular Pigment – The COMPASS Project
MPhil Award: Mr. A. Mukunda Chaitanya                   
Study Funding: Bausch & Lomb / Enterprise Ireland

(3) Identification of novel and appropriate preoperative lens morphological characteristics and psychophysical outcome measures for cataract surgery in an era of falling thresholds for surgical intervention and rising patient expectations
MD Award: Dr. Sonia Charalampidou                         
Study Funding: Alcon

(4) Visual performance, and its response to intervention, in subjects with age-related macular degeneration.
PhD Project, Student: Ms. Sarah Pickett        
Study Funding: Novartis

(5) Macular and serum responses to supplemental meso-Zeaxanthin, Zeaxanthin and Lutein (Human response to MacushieldTM)
MPhil Project, Student: Ms. Eithne Connolly              
Study Funding: Howard Foundation

(6) Economically sustainable approaches to eyecare in sub-Saharan Africa.
PhD project, Student: Mr. Stephen Thompson                        
Study Funding: Irish Aid

Current major research initiatives include the Mozambique Eyecare Project (Principal Investigator), Ocular Disease Research and  Macular Pigment Research

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Mozambique Eyecare Project 2008 - 2014

This proposal has successfully secured Irish Aid funding of €1.5 million, Dublin Institute of Technology funding of €504,000, and International Centre for Eyecare Education funding €400,000 to develop and implement a sustainable model for optometric education and eyecare service delivery initially in Mozambique and subsequently across developing nations in a five-year project. The dearth of eyecare services, infrastructure and human resource capacity in developing nations is a significant barrier to basic human rights. Approximately 150 million people have visual impairment secondary to refractive error, which could be rectified simply with a pair of spectacles or low vision aids.

Poor vision is an indicator of vulnerability, a constraint to sustainable livelihood development and education and more generally implicated in health and poverty complexes.  The likelihood of adequately addressing this problem in the immediate future is bleak since the number of optometrists and ophthalmologists produced in sub-Saharan Africa is drastically deficient.

The project involves the collaboration of Optometry staff from Dublin Institute of Technology, with support from the University of Ulster Coleraine, in association with the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) and Lurio University in Mozambique.
Training of optometrists is costly and takes four years. A model has been developed which incorporates the training of optometric technicians at Lurio University in the first two years of a modified Optometry programme. This will deliver the high volume of graduates needed to address the problem of avoidable blindness.

The model proposed incorporates a co-ordinated programme of deployment on graduation providing a sustainable solution to eliminating avoidable blindness and, consistent with the thematic priorities of Irish Aid, addresses issues of poverty and disadvantage, education, gender equality, health, HIV/AIDs, livelihood and security and pro-poor economic growth. Research activities will focus specifically on epidemiological, pedagogical and impact analyses.

There are currently 5 postgraduate students registered on this programme, with a further 3 students in the process of registration.

Macular Pigment Research

Macular Pigment (MP) is composed of the dietary carotenoids, lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) which accumulate, to the exclusion of all other carotenoids, in the central retina. MP is a blue light filter and possesses powerful antioxidant properties. While there is a growing body of evidence that MP may protect against cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the commonest cause of age-related blindness in the Western World, the visual and physiological role of MP has yet to be explored.

Building on the innovative COMPASS project, a series of MP research studies are now ongoing and include:

1: Macular Pigment & Glare Disability in Glaucoma
2: Macular Pigment and Glare Disability in Post-Laser Refractive Surgery Patients
3: Macular Pigment in an African Population
4: Macular Pigment in AMD

Macular Pigment and Glaucoma Trial

This is a research study looking at the effects of oral dietary macular pigment (MP) supplementation in an individual with glaucoma. MP is a naturally occurring pigment located at the back of the eye. MP plays an important role to maintain good visual function including glare sensitivity. We have found that patients with glaucoma have reduced MP levels in their eye, which is a new finding. Studies have shown that oral dietary MP supplement can increase MP profiles to a normal level and improve glare sensitivity in healthy individuals and those with age-related macular degeneration. Individuals with glaucoma commonly suffer from glare and the cause of this is poorly understood. Here, we would like to study whether dietary MP supplementation will reduce glare symptoms among individuals with glaucoma. We would also like to understand whether dietary MP supplementation has any impact on glaucoma and the individual’s quality of life. The patient information leaflet for this trial can be accessed here.

Also, I need to put the patient information leaflet online for this trial as a requirement of the clinical trial registration process. Could you add the attached file as a link out of the word "here" at the end of the paragraph above. The link should simply bring the user to a page that displays the text in the attached file.

Ocular Disease Research

Ongoing studies include investigations in:

  • Neovascular AMD
  • Glaucoma & Glaucoma Shared Care

See the Optometry Research Page for a summary of all active research


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