Research highlights for April 2022

Published: 3 May 2022 at 15:30

Find out about research published by members of ARU's Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) in April 2022.

Marques et al. (1) published a systematic review which aimed to describe and summarise the costs associated with vision impairment and its major courses using economic evaluation studies published since 1 January 2000. 138 studies found provided 155 regional cost estimates, with cost estimates varying considerably due to large variations in methodology and reporting.

The authors found substantial variation across studies in average treatment costs per patient, including refractive error correction (range $12–$201 ppp), cataract surgery (range $54–$3654 ppp), glaucoma (range $351–$1354 ppp) and AMD (range $2209–$7524 ppp).

The authors suggested that cost estimates of the economic burden of vision impairment will be improved by the development and adoption of a reference case for eye health.

Mental health conditions are important causes of disease burden among young people in high-income countries, and Castelpietra et al. (2) estimated prevalence, incidence, Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and Years of Life Lost (YLLs) from mental disorders (MDs), substance use disorders (SUDs) and self-harm for young people (aged 10-24) in 31 European countries.

The authors found that in 2019, rates per 100,000 population were 16,983 for MDs, 3,891 for SUDs, and 89.1 for self-harm, with variations by sex, age-group and country. Therefore, mental health conditions represent an important burden among young people living in Europe.

Lindsay et al. (3) compared participation, motivators and barriers to fishing, between anglers with and without disabilities via the use of an online survey.

Among the anglers who responded (1799), 16.2% reported having a disability, the majority of whom (56.5%) were over 55 years old. The authors found no difference in fishing participation, or motivators for fishing, between anglers with and without disabilities.

Overall, there appeared to be no differences in fishing participation between anglers with versus without disabilities, although there may exist additional barriers to participation.

Jolly et al. (4) aimed to quantify the effect of cataract on colour vision and to understand whether different types and severities of cataract have different effects on colour vision. The prospective observational cohort study is the first to quantitatively measure the reduction in colour vision sensitivity using the Cambridge Colour Test due to the presence of cataract.

The authors found that cataract surgery has a statistically significant effect upon colour vision in both the protan and tritan axes.

Prospective associations of multimorbidity (≥2 chronic conditions) and anxiety were examined in Smith et al. (5) using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) and a follow-up after two years.

The authors found that ≥3 chronic conditions were associated with a significant 1.89 times higher risk for new onset anxiety at follow-up compared to no chronic physical conditions at baseline. Having 1, 2, and ≥3 conditions at baseline were associated with significant 1.48, 1.74 and 1.84 times higher risk for persistent anxiety at follow up. The study confirms that multimorbidity was associated with both new onset and persistent anxiety among Irish older adults.

Ong et al. (6) published a letter to the Editor regarding the importance and need for research training during ophthalmology traineeship. The authors suggest that a trainee research network (TRN) is the way forward in effectively promoting research training, engagement and scholarly outputs among medical and surgical trainees globally.


1. Marques, A. P., Ramke, J., Cairns, J., Butt, T., Zhang, J. H., Jones, I., Jovic, M., Nandakumar, A., Faal, H., Taylor, H., Bastawrous, A., Braithwaite, T., Resnikoff, S., Khaw, P. T., Bourne, R., Gordon, I., Frick, K., Burton, M. J., 2022. The economics of vision impairment and its leading causes: A systematic review. eClinicalMedicine, 46, 101354. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101354

2. Castelpietra, G., Knudsen, A. K. S., Agardh, E. E., Armocida, B., Beghi, M., Iburg, K. M., et al. (Pardhan, S.), 2022. The burden of mental disorders, substance use disorders and self-harm among young people in Europe, 1990–2019: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, 16. doi: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2022.100341

3. Lindsay, R. K., Carmichael, C., Allen, P. M., Fossey, M., Godier-McBard, L., Butler, L., Trott, M., Pardhan, S., Tully, M. A., Wilson, J. J., Torrance, A., Smith, L., 2022. Fishing Participation, Motivators and Barriers among UK Anglers with Disabilities: Opportunities and Implications for Green Social Prescribing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(8). doi: 10.3390/ijerph19084730

4. Jolly, J. K., Pratt, L., More, A. K., Kwan, J., Jones, R. L., MacLaren, R. E., Aslam, S., 2022. The effect of cataract on colour vision measurement with the Low Vision Cambridge Colour Test: Providing an adjustment factor for clinical trials. Ophthalmology Science. doi: 10.1016/j.xops.2022.100153

5. Smith, L., Shin, J. I., Jacob, L., Schuch, F., Pizzol, D., López Sánchez, G. F., Soysal, P., Tully, M. A., Butler, L. T., Barnett, Y., Veronese, N., Park, S., Koyanagi, A., 2022. Physical multimorbidity predicts the onset and persistence of anxiety: A prospective analysis of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Journal of Affective Disorders. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.04.022

6. Ong, Z. Z., Henein, C., Swampillai, A. J., Maubon, L., Bourne, R. R. A., Ting, D. S. J., 2022. Trainee research network (TRN): a potential global model for promoting research training and outputs among trainees. Eye. doi: 10.1038/s41433-022-02060-z