A GRANDMOTHER is so keen to help find a cure for failing eyesight that she spent her 90th birthday in hospital.

Dorothy Rhodes is officially Bradford Royal Infirmary's oldest eye research patient and staff showed their appreciation by putting on a party with balloons and cakes as a thank you.

So far, Mrs Rhodes is the only volunteer found suitable for a groundbreaking research programme into dry macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness and is currently not treatable .

She is having regular injections of a new drug called Lampilizumab to see if it can help and will be monitored over the next two years

An appeal in the Telegraph & Argus for more volunteers did get a response, but an assessment ruled most of the volunteers out, said lead eye research sister Nicci Hawes, who hopes more people will get in touch.

"Unfortunately it's a very strict screening process so Dorothy is our only patient for this particular study at the moment but we hope other people will get in touch to see if they can help us," she said .

There is a possibility that those who do not meet the criteria could still be invited to join a second linked study being led by Bradford.

Mrs Rhodes, from Ilkley, said: "I've always been the kind of person to help others, so this is more about helping to save other peoples' eyesight in the future rather than mine."

Mrs Rhodes has poor vision in one of her eyes because of dry macular degeneration and the research team hopes it will be able to preserve vision in her other one, with the help of the injections on the Spectri study.

Consultant Ophthalmologist Faruque Ghanchi said: "We wish Mrs Rhodes a very happy 90th birthday. She is exemplary in being our oldest eye research participant and is the epitome of altruism that makes research real in the NHS in general and Bradford in particular.

"We hope we can find answers to many unresolved eye conditions like dry macular degeneration with the help of research participants like Mrs Rhodes and many others like her."

If Lampilizumab is successful, the drug could give hope to more than five million people worldwide living with an age-related eye condition for which there is no cure.

Macular Degeneration usually affects people in their 70s causing a gradual loss of central vision.

There are two types, dry and wet. The dry type comes first and progresses into the more serious wet type, when fluid and blood leak from behind the retina but can be treated with injections.

The research is happening in 24 other countries across the world but Bradford is the only centre trialling it in West Yorkshire.

Anyone interested in taking part in the clinical research should have dry macular degeneration in both eyes.

To find out more, contact Sister Nicola Hawes on e-mail nicola.hawes@bthft.nhs.uk or on 01274 383927 or 01274 383750.