Your impact 2023

Saving sight after retinal detachment

Your donation has enabled a new study led by Dr David Sousa to investigate whether a type of vitamin B3 could protect vision in retinal detachment – a medical emergency that causes sudden vision loss.


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Retinal detachment is a medical emergency that causes sudden vision loss.

It affects up to two in 10,000 Australians each year and with prompt surgical treatment there is a high chance of successfully re-attaching the retina.

However, many patients are still left with significant, irreversible vision loss. This is more likely when the detachment involves a part of the retina called the macula, which is responsible for central vision.

Your support has opened the door for a new study to investigate whether nicotinamide (a type of vitamin B3) could protect vision in retinal detachment cases involving the macula.

Dr David Sousa will lead a clinical study with 50 participants to test whether high-dose nicotinamide supplementation can prolong photoreceptor survival after retinal reattachment surgery.

In the study, participants with macula-off retinal detachment will orally take either a nicotinamide supplement or a pill with no active ingredients (a placebo). The research team will then assess participants’ quality of vision during their regular follow-up visits post-surgery.

“If the trial is successful, it will address a critical unmet need in medicine – reducing vision loss in people with retinal detachment,” says Dr Sousa.

“This study has the potential to transform how the condition is treated worldwide, which could mean the difference between someone with retinal detachment preserving their sight or not. The effect this could have on someone’s quality of life is immeasurable.

“I am sincerely grateful to CERA’s supporters for making this trial possible.”

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