Jan 21 eyeYPAG meeting by Eleri

By Louca-May Brady,

Hi and welcome to the next blog for eyeYPAG. We had our 11th meeting, and our 6th meeting on Zoom, on 23rd January 2021.

We started off with a show and tell game and then sang happy birthday to the group members who’d had birthdays since our last meeting. Then Jacq showed us the latest version of the film we’re making about our group shared agreements (ground rules) – we thought about making the border brighter and more vibrant. We’ll share the final version in a future blog post.

Then Annegret, one of the eye doctors who works with the group, talked to us about the research she’s planning on using tablets to slow down short-sightedness in children. She’s planning research on how taking tablets containing a substance that comes from caffeine can slow myopia down. Caffeine is famously found in coffee and chocolate but giving kids lots of coffee and chocolate is extremely unhealthy!

 

The tablets have already been tested in Denmark and we were proud to welcome Christian and Alexander into the meeting. They are part of the project and have been testing the tablets for some time. Annegret asked us:

  • What are your thoughts about taking tablets in general?
  • Is there anything that makes it easier to take tablets?
  • What would you feel about taking tablets twice a day for 2 years to slow down the worsening of short-sightedness? 
  • What could we do, so that families would want to take part in a clinical trial of these tablets?

We talked about:

  • Side effects (the young people from Denmark said that they hadn’t had any side effects although having to remember to take tablets twice a day could be a bit inconvenient, Annegret said other research had not shown any side effects)
  • ‘Can you chew them?’ (the tablets are actually powder that has been compressed and are not yet chewable!). We also suggested adding colour and flavour (strawberry!) to make them more appealing.
  • How often they have to be taken (Annegret talked about a slow-release preparation so that the tablets only have to be taken twice a day not 3 or 4 times)
  • Think of ways to make the tablets easier to swallow and how to help children remember to take the tablets every day
  • The information you’d need to give children and their parents so that they’d understand why the research was important and want to get involved

Annegret said:

“The members of the eye-YPAG gave very thoughtful comments about children taking tablets for eye problems, and how support from parents and carers can make it easier to remember taking medications. Christian and Alexander from Denmark shared their experience with taking7-MX, which made this meeting  a unique, international experience”

After a break Katie and Muna, who are research technicians at Moorfields, showed us a film they’d made about different machines that are used to look at children and young people’s eyes in research projects.

Finally, some of us met with Louca-Mai after the main meeting to start planning an evaluation of this group. Watch this space for more information soon!