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Boost for CERA’s keratoconus research

Research into a common genetic cause of vision loss has received a much-needed injection of funds thanks to a grant awarded to CERA by the Angior Family Foundation this month.

Associate Professor Paul Baird says this grant will allow researchers to test a more advanced screening camera (called a Pentacam) to see if it can pick up signs of keratoconus earlier than traditional screening techniques.

“We will also be screening the DNA of the participants to see if we can identify the genes associated with keratoconus,” he said.

image-tools (54)Keratoconus is a common condition that affects the cornea (the front covering of the eye). In the early stages, vision is correctable with spectacles but with progression, rigid contact lenses are required. In a minority of patients, the central cornea becomes extremely thin and irregular and then corneal transplantation surgery is required to restore vision.

Typically, keratoconus is diagnosed using imaging techniques that assess changes on the surface of the cornea. As imaging techniques have improved, the number of close relatives of affected individuals identified with some change in their cornea has increased significantly. Thus, better imaging is leading to increased disease detection and the possibility of early treatment interventions.

“We are very grateful to the Angior Family Foundation for supporting this important research into a common, progressive form of vision loss,” said Associate Professor Baird.