The TIGER Study – Restoring Vision Loss

October 25, 2023

Pictured: Dr Lesly Doyle, Mr Fredrick Gilbert Watson and Dr Emma McConnell


Clinical research helps us better understand human health and wellbeing and NI Author Fredrick Gilbert Watson helps us to better understand our local history through his writing. And thanks to the TIGER study, a Vision related clinical trial, both clinical research and our local history were brought into focus.


In January 2023 Mr Watson, a local writer and historian, suffered a submacular haemorrhage (SMH) secondary to wet age-related macular degeneration. If left untreated, this condition can lead to permanent vision loss. Mr Watson experienced a sudden and devastating reduction in his vision, so much so that he was no longer able to drive. During his initial appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Mr Watson was concerned that his declining vision would impact his writing and could mean that he was unable to finish his current book.


Thankfully the NI Clinical Research Network Vision team were offering clinical treatments for SMH as part of the TIGER Study. Led by Principal Investigator (and overall trial co-investigator) Professor Noemi Lois, the TIGER study aims to identify what is the best treatment for SMH because, at present, this is not yet known. The aim of treatment is to stop further bleeding at the back of the eye and to help clear blood away from the macula, which is the area at the back of our eyes where our most detailed vision comes from.


Mr Watson received prompt and life changing treatment from Professor Lois as part of the TIGER Study and has since regained much of the vision he had lost. He is now back on the road driving again and most importantly he has been able to finish his latest book.


Mr Watson was so grateful for the care and treatment he received by the Vision team that when he returned for one of his follow-up visits, he presented the team with a copy of his book, which he also dedicated to the research team. The dedication reads, “Finally, I must record my sincere thanks to Prof. Noemi Lois, Dr Emma McConnell, Dr Lesley Doyle, and the Tiger study team who latterly brought this project into much sharper focus”.


Drs Emma McConnell and Lesley Doyle said, “We are delighted that Mr Watson’s vision has improved so much as a result of his treatment on the TIGER trial. We were so touched by his extremely kind gesture of dedicating his book to the research team. As researchers and clinicians we always work to do the best for our patients and don’t expect anything in return, so to have received acknowledgement in this way for the work that we do was very special to us.”


Prof Noemi Lois said, “TIGER is an investigator-led clinical trial (Belfast is one of the leading sites) recruiting participants throughout Europe. It was funded by EURETINA and Fight for Sight. It has ensured people with submacular haemorrhage (an urgent sight-threatening complication of exudative (wet) age-related macular degeneration) in Northern Ireland are treated very timely. I am very grateful to all TIGER participants and I am extremely pleased to see many of them are doing very well indeed following treatment.”


Find out more about the TIGER Study here:


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By Emma Byrne