Congratulations to Patricia Keith on receiving an Order of Australia (OAM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
A now-retired ophthalmic nurse, Patricia was recognised for her service to the community, including serving on the boards of the North West Hospital and Royal District Nursing Service and a fundraising board at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Patricia Keith OAM
Patricia was also one of 300 people to take part in CERA’s LEAD study– a world-first trial of nanosecond laser treatment for people with the early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Patricia learned she had early-stage AMD in 2011 during an annual eye check. Progressive central vision loss is an inevitable part of the disease, which can make everyday activities like reading difficult. Faced with this prognosis, Patricia applied to be part of the LEAD trial at the suggestion of her ophthalmologist.
“To be given the opportunity to participate in the LEAD study was a gift,” she said. “I had been given a diagnosis with no cure – why would I not try to be a part of finding that cure?”
“The clinical staff and the researchers were wonderful, caring and supportive. We were all working together to try and find that cure. I feel far more positive about my future,” she said.
Thanks to the generosity of clinical trial volunteers like Patricia, the LEAD trial was able to show that people with less severe disease at the beginning of the trial who received the laser treatment had a slower disease progression than those who did not receive the treatment. While the study still needs to be repeated to validate the results, the initial findings are extremely positive.