Professor Matthew Burton of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine appointed as a GAFFI Senior Adviser

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One of GAFFI’s priority diseases is fungal (mycotic) keratitis, which leaves 100,000’s blind in at least one eye each year. Professor Matthew Burton is a Wellcome Trust funded clinical researcher focused on corneal infection. He brings deep expertise in to GAFFI in microbial keratitis, with years of experience in Africa and many international collaborations.

Matthew Burton is a Professor of International Eye Health at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of severe corneal infections.

Matthew’s major research focus is on infectious causes of blindness, including fungal keratitis, bacterial keratitis and trachoma in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He works with research collaborators in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, The Gambia, Nepal and India. He is leading a programme of research around the development of diagnostics and treatment for microbial keratitis in low income settings. He is also the Director of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, which supports training and research capacity development for eye health professionals in low and middle-income countries. His seminal paper on the dismal outcomes from fungal keratitis in Tanzania was a real wake up call in this area.(Article)

Professor Burton comments: “Microbial keratitis and especially fungal keratitis have been grossly understudied in most low and middle-income countries. There is a real imperative to empower health workers with the tools for rapid evaluation of acute painful eyes and/or impaired vision to ensure that both sight and the eye is saved. GAFFI has made a good start on highlighting preventable visual loss due to fungal infection with global health agencies. My Wellcome Trust funding is closely aligned to GAFFI’s objectives in this area and I look forward to contributing. ”