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KESS2 Scholarship: Community-based Optometric Referral Refinement & Monitoring for wAMD: Evaluation of Stakeholder Experience in Wales. (MbyRes)

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Dr C Wallace No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Masters by Research. Here is an exciting opportunity to study a community-based Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (wAMD) referral refinement and treatment process, exploring its impact within a range of stakeholder groups. This could lead to entirely new approaches in the delivery of eyecare services.
The selected candidate will apply their research skills and ambition to deliver this very topical evaluation project. This Realist Review and Evaluation study will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of healthcare research.

Programme of Research:
Age-Related Macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic eye disease affecting those over 50 years of age and represents the most significant cause of visual impairment within the older population in the developed world. AMD may initially cause no symptoms, but the significant loss of vision experienced by those in the later stages of the disease is highly disabling and has been associated with impairment of the Activities of Daily Living, increased psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. Given that the age of the UK population is rising, the rates of AMD diagnosis and consequent impact upon healthcare resources are set to increase.
Whilst there is no cure for AMD, modalities utilising Anti-VEGF agents have revolutionised treatment of the ‘wet’ form of the disease (wAMD), arresting progression and preserving vision. The approach involves the close monitoring of those with wAMD, and administration of intravitreal injections in accordance with clinical findings. However, whilst such a treatment pathway is efficacious in terms of preserving vision, it is also highly resource intensive, placing significant demands upon not only Hospital Eye Services, but also patients and their carers.
These issues have been recognised at a national level, and led to the implementation of a Welsh Government funded AMD Pathfinder service, in which a series of community-based optometric referral refinement and treatment and monitoring (RR&M) pilot sites were established for people living with wAMD. These RR&M sites involved community optometrists using specialised scanning equipment to assess and refer ‘new’ wAMD patients to Hospital Eye Services, whilst also monitoring those with stable disease within primary care. Whilst early evaluation has shown the model to be efficacious, the wider experiences of those both delivering and utilising the service merits further exploration, and it is these elements that are the foci for this MbyRes. This is a unique study that will utilise the Realist Review and Evaluation approach in order to explore the model. It offers stakeholders an opportunity to shape the configuration of services within their own locality - based upon their experiences of the pilot service delivery arrangements, contributing to the development of accessible and client-centred services for those living with wAMD, and ultimately the transformation of eye care recently announced by Welsh Government (2019).

Application Process:
To download an application package, please visit:

For any queries on eligibility, please contact: KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: [Email Address Removed] Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Dr Carolyn Wallace: ([Email Address Removed]).

Further information at:

Closing date for applications: midnight Sunday 17th January 2021
Interviews will be held w/c (TBC)

Funding Notes

The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time MbyRes programme and pay a stipend of circa £11k p.a. There is also around £3k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.

The position is available from 1st April 2021
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