At the forefront of research

The only NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to eye health research

We are dedicated to pioneering research that transforms the lives of patients facing sight loss. Our vision is to change lives across the UK and the world by preserving sight and driving equity through innovation, particularly for those with the greatest need.  Since 2007, we have been pioneering the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments for the benefit of patients with eye conditions and for the NHS.

Ranked world number


for ophthalmology research in the Scimago Institution Rankings

Our world firsts include

The first gene therapy to cure an inherited human disease

In 2012 Moorfields led the world in developing a gene therapy to treat Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a genetic cause of childhood blindness, and in 2020 the first patient received the treatment on the NHS

Professor Bainbridge and his colleague Professor Robin Ali from Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology performed the world’s first gene therapy treatment in 2012 on a patient with LCA. They injected genes containing cells that normally detect light into the back of a patient’s eye. In patients with LCA these light detecting cells do not work, preventing them from seeing properly. The replacement genes help to heal the dying cells enabling the retina to detect light and eventually improve sight.

The first 3D printed prosthetic eye

In 2021 the Moorfields team 3D printed a prosthetic eye for a patient from London. The technology promises to provide more realistic prosthetics than traditional acrylic prosthetics.

The 3D technology uses scans of the eye instead of an invasive mould of the eye socket to create a more realistic prosthetic and cuts the time it takes for patients to be fitted with their prosthetics in half, from six to three weeks.

Steve Verze, from Hackney, east London has become the first person in the world to be fitted with the 3D-printed prosthetic eye at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

“I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it,” said Mr Verze, who is in his 40s.

“This new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s only going to be better and better.”

The first robotic surgery to remove a cancerous eye tumour

In 2021, Moorfields partnered with Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust to save an 85-year-old patient's sight by performing the world's first robotic surgery on an eye tumour.

Irene Milton, 85 and a grandmother-of-seven, had a recurrent basal cell carcinoma on the inner corner of her right eye and was previously told she would have to have her eye removed in order to treat her cancer. Thanks to this surgery, the patient who faced the prospect of losing an eye due to cancer has kept her vision and won’t need radiotherapy.

Claire Daniel, consultant oculoplastic surgeon and lid oncology lead at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “Irene has done really well after her surgery and it’s very exciting to be able to provide such a great service for our patients affected by cancer. This is truly a world-leading advance in orbital surgery, which we will build on in the future.

“We have developed a highly specialised periocular cancer unit thanks to our excellent collaboration with Guy’s and St Thomas’, enabling us to share our expertise in treating these very difficult cases.”

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