Science

Glaucoma and Posterior Segment

The Glaucoma and Posterior Segment research group includes research in the following areas:


Corneal and ocular biomechanics in glaucoma
Glaucoma is a common age related eye condition which is asymptomatic until the later stages where irreversible loss of the visual field occurs, thus timely disease diagnosis presents a major challenge. This research focuses on improved diagnosis in glaucoma and is investigating specific aspects of the behaviour of the prelaminar tissue of the optic nerve head. 

Role of the immune system in posterior segment disease
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common age related eye disease resulting in a loss in central vision. The inflammatory nature of AMD has been confirmed and this research focuses on the role of the immune system, complement and the expression of a novel protein in Bruch/s membrane/choriocapillaris, in both AMD and in normal ageing. Similar cell biology approaches have been applied to the study of ocular tumours.

Ganglion cell structure and function relationship
Despite glaucoma being the most common form of optic nerve head (ONH) disease and a main cause for vision impairment, only little progress has been made in recent years to overcome the diagnostic dilemma of correlating structural and functional damage. In order to correlate ganglion cell loss and impact on visual field, it is imperative to have a solid understanding of their relationship. Some of our current projects are focused on the identification of suitable predictors of the ganglion cell structure/function relationship. Improved sensitivity in the associated testing paradigms should significantly drive the understanding of disease pathogenesis and result in refined diagnostic parameters for early glaucoma or other ocular diseases. 

Glaucoma management
With an aging population, the management of chronic eye disease is an increasing issue for the already stretched health system. The Centre for Eye Health (CFEH), a joint Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW initiative is leading the way in applying state of the art examination techniques and promoting a shared care model for eye-care in Australia. Research at the centre is focused on the analysis of current glaucoma practice characteristics, effectiveness in clinical diagnosis, referral quality, appropriate utilisation of new technologies and integration with complementary facilities and services. Ultimately, more cohesive and patient-focused service delivery will lead to improved quality of life for patients and a reduced economic burden of eye disease nationally. 

Neurochemistry of the normal and diseased retina
This research focuses on the how retinal circuitry operates with regards to neurotransmitter release, receptor location and receptor function. This knowledge will allow development of a retinal roadmap which can be applied to retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration where changes in retinal signals are known to occur but the exact details of these changes remain unknown.