OCT researchers garner grants for glaucoma detection
CLARKSBURG, Md. – OCT could become
even more useful in glaucoma detection, diagnosis and research, thanks to new grants
from the American Health Assistance Foundation, which funds research on age-related
diseases. The organization recently awarded 22 grants – totaling nearly $2.2
million – to scientists worldwide for work on glaucoma and macular degeneration,
the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness in the US. Two of the grants
are for research on OCT for glaucoma.
“Right now, researchers in the US and around the world are
getting tantalizingly close to measuring changes in the brain and eye that were
previously difficult to spot,” said Dr. Guy Eakin, AHAF’s vice president
for scientific affairs. “Improved testing will lead to earlier and more effective
treatments to prevent blindness.”
Dr. Julie Albon, a lecturer in the Optometry and Vision Sciences
department at Cardiff University in the UK, and four co-investigators in Wales,
Vienna and London received one of the grants for their work using OCT to study changes
in the optic nerve head that could enable speedier diagnosis of glaucoma.
The second OCT-related grant went to Dr. Michael Julien Alexandre
Girard at Imperial College London and Dr. Nick Strouthidis at London’s Moorfields
Eye Hospital. They will use an OCT scanner to explore stiffness of the cornea, and
whether its presence at the front of the eye predicts mechanical damage –
and, therefore, vision loss – at the back of the eye. The correlation has
not yet been established through scientific testing. Optometrists and ophthalmologists
may someday be able to use such measurements to determine a patient’s risk
of developing glaucoma.
Other topics of study that attracted the new AHAF research grants
include the brain’s control of eye and brain pressure changes, adult stem
cells for improved treatments and gene tracking in various populations.
- The inability to perceive visual images (visible radiant energy). In human beings, blindness is defined as a visual acuity of less than one-tenth normal vision.
- The transparent front layer of the eye. Light entering the eye is refracted (converged) by the outer surface of the cornea.
- The organ of vision or light sensitivity.
- The branch of medicine involved in the study of the anatomy, functions, diseases and treatments of the eye.
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