Science

Anterior Segment and Contact Lenses

The Anterior Segment and Contact Lenses research group includes research into the following areas:


Contact lenses
This research focuses on the development of antimicrobial contact lenses and ways of controlling microbial colonisation of contact lens cases during use to prevent keratitis during lens wear. In order for the contact lens market to grow, infections that occur during wear, and comfort for the wearer must be addressed. 

Ocular homeostasis, the tear film and ocular comfort
This research has focused on identification of changes in the tear film proteome and lipidome during the day, during contact lens wear and during application of therapies to improve ocular comfort. 

Epidemiology of contact lens-related infection
Contact lens-related infection is a rare but severe disease and the only complication of contact lens wear to result in loss in vision. This group has established international collaborations to determine the risks of disease, health outcomes, and community costs of eye infections, visual loss and morbidity. Recent areas of interest include epidemiological studies to establish risks associated with contemporary lens wear modalities, studies of virulence characteristics of causative organisms and disease outcomes and understanding host factors in corneal infection.

Orthokeratology
Orthokeratology (OK) is a contact lens-based corneal reshaping technology for temporary correction of refractive error. This world-leading group has investigated the corneal mechanisms underlying the procedure, its safety and the use of OK to inhibit myopia progression in children. Progressive myopia in children is highly prevalent in East Asia, with significant public health implications. 

Biomarkers in ocular surface and other diseases
This emergent field fits with existing areas of expertise in ocular surface, which have already received funding from the ARC. Dry eye is increasingly common in the aging population, affecting 500,000 individuals in Australia. Ocular Allergy is also a very common complaint and one of the leading causes of people attending eye examinations. We are researching and developing methods to understand mechanisms of disease. The increasing prevalence of diabetes means that clinicians will be increasingly faced with the challenge of treating the complications relating to the underlying disease process. We are researching the biochemical changes in the tear film in relationship to the corneal structural changes in diabetes so as to be able to predict nerve damage earlier. The use of tears as a fluid to assess breast cancer progression and treatment has been funded by ARC Linkage grants.