Professor Paul Mitchell MBBS, MD, PhD, FRANZCO, FRACS, FROphth, FAFPHM
2011 Research Grant recipient
Professor Paul Mitchell is Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology & Eye Health, Westmead Clinical School, University of Sydney. He is undertaking a comparison of the risk factor, quality of life and utility value profile of a large age-related macular degeneration patient sample with a population-based cohort.
On 13 October 2011 Professor Mitchell was awarded a three-year grant by Macular Disease Foundation Australia to support this research project, wich is entitled, 'Comparison of the risk factor, quality of life and utility value profile of a large age-related macular degeneration patient sample with a population-based cohort'.
The aim of Professor Mitchell’s study is to gain a deeper understanding of the risk factor profile of people who are seeking treatment for late-stage age-related macular degeneration. This will build on the invaluable data obtained from Professor Mitchell's landmark Blue Mountains Eye Study. Using an innovative approach, the study is assessing the impact of age related macular degeneration on quality of life, identify the prevalence of age related macular degeneration-specific genes and determine the primary barriers to accessing treatment. Importantly, this study will shed new light on the link between modifiable risk factors (e.g. nutrition, body weight and smoking) and non-modifiable factors (e.g. genetic predisposition). A key outcome of the research will be an enhanced capacity for early identification of people at a high risk of disease progression. People at higher risk will be better equipped to modify their lifestyle in order to slow the progression of their disease and improve their quality of life.
Professor Mitchell's clinical work focuses on the management of age related macula degeneration, diabetic and other vascular retinopathies and on systemic diseases and their effects on the eye. His research has targeted the epidemiology of eye disease and clinical aspects of retinal diseases.
Professor Mitchell has made significant contributions in the fields of public health and ophthalmic epidemiology via the landmark Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES), the first large Australian population-based study of age-related eye disease, already yielding almost 300 international publications including in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The study examined prevalence, incidence, risk factors and impacts of the key causes of vision loss, vascular events, hearing, nutrition and other findings of systemic-ocular links, and key impacts of visual impairment on independent living and quality of life.