Sheila West Ph.D.
Sheila West, Ph.D.
Sheila West Was recognized for her wide- ranging discoveries in public health ophthalmology, notably in trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness world-wide. Her research has informed all aspects of the World Health Organization SAFE Strategy for trachoma control. She demonstrated that a single dose of azithromycin could reduce recurrence of post-operative trichiasis by 30%; her research showed that several years of annual MDA would likely be needed to achieve WHO goal of reducing trachoma to <5% at district level, which led to the recommendations on program survey frequency; she led the first clinical trial to demonstrate that clean faces would lead to reduction in trachoma, and that providing water to trachoma communities is not enough to reduce trachoma. She is internationally recognized as at the forefront of bringing population science to ophthalmology, and was the first to report that cataract-specifically nuclear cataract –was related to smoking. Further work led to authoring the Chapter in the Surgeon General’s report on the risk of eye diseases with smoking. She has published extensively on disparities in eye health and was the first to find differences in prevalence of Cataract and AMD between African American and Caucasian populations. She was also the first to study the population prevalence and risk factors for Diabetic Retinopathy in Latinx population in Arizona AND that Glaucoma was a leading cause of blindness in this population.