The winner of the Fight for Sight/British Thyroid Foundation Small Grant Award 2014 is Mr Daniel Ezra, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and lecturer at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Here he explains his research study on Application of 3D facial imaging system in the management of Thyroid Eye Disease:

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is a condition in which the immune system attacks tissues surrounding the eyes, producing inflammation and swelling. Double vision, protruding eyes, discomfort, redness and reduced vision are common features. The disease is variable and can have both blinding and immense psychosocial consequences.

Disfigurement is a particular burden to TED patients and there are currently limited ways of measuring this.
The Vectra M3 3D Imaging system (Canfield Imaging, Fairfield, NJ, USA) is a sophisticated tool that has been used in the fields of reconstructive breast and facial surgery as well as cosmetic surgery. This system can capture 3D images of patients to enable more accurate measurement of changes in contour and shape. This could be an invaluable way detecting progression of disease and response to treatment and could also help doctors to measure the effect of different treatments and compare new with existing treatments to decide which is better. The system can also act as a simulator to show predicted changes which could help patients understand the potential benefits in appearance which surgical treatment can bring. No systematic work to investigate the use of this system has ever been performed in TED patients. Our research aims to help answer the question: Is the Vectra M3 3D imaging system a useful and reliable tool for managing TED?

We aim to conduct a series of studies to investigate this system. Firstly, a study to image TED patients before and after surgical treatment aimed at reducing 'protrusion' of the eyes. Secondly, a study to assess TED patients during the course of their disease to analyse how good 3D imaging is compared to the tools/measures of disease that doctors already use. Thirdly, a study to investigate the effect of eye drops on reducing eye protrusion, which has been suggested by several laboratory studies.

This work could help bridge the gap in research exploring measures of appearance in disfiguring orbital diseases and the results could therefore be far-reaching and relevant for doctors and patients.

Mr Ezra added: 'I am delighted to win this award and am very grateful to the BTF and the FFS for making it possible to conduct this important research'.