Research into the many causes of blindness could prevent thousands of people losing their sight, but there is a worrying shortage of funding and researchers. The prospect of losing your sight is terrible, but almost 2 million people are currently living with sight loss throughout Britain. And anyone can be affected. Many causes of blindness are preventable and sometimes treatable, but for some there are no cures. Research carried out by Professor John Forrester and his team at Aberdeen University's Institute of Medical Sciences are exploring new ways of treating these intractable forms of blindness.
But much work still needs to be be done.
Dr Iain Fraser founded Saving Sight in Grampian as a charitable organisation, which operates under the auspices of the University of Aberdeen Development Trust, in 1988. Sadly Dr Fraser passed away in April 2016 having devoted almost 30 years of his life to the charity. Following Iain’s death, Mr Michael Hastie, a SSIG committee member since its inception, was elected Chairman and is supported by a committee who have the objective of continuing to raise funds for the vital research being carried out.
Up to the end of 2020 more than £3.5 million had been raised the bulk of which has already been expended. Any balance in hand is earmarked for current projects. Although the name has a local connotation, donations have been received from overseas and many regions of the United Kingdom as research carried out in Grampian has worldwide benefits. All the researchers are highly qualified scientists or are medically qualified and carry out their work in the laboratories at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Foresterhill, Aberdeen.
The committee really appreciate all the help we receive in raising these funds. We have had support from local press and media companies and many other businesses who have organised or attended fund raising events and of course we have received a substantial number of donations from individuals. We do not receive any Government funding and every penny received is utilised to fight blinding diseases of the eyes. Members of the committee receive no remuneration and are not reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses.