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Centre for Eye Research Australia celebrates 20 years of breakthroughs and progress

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) has celebrated 20 years of ground-breaking work into eye-related diseases and its evolution into one of the world’s most important places for vision studies.

Floral display at the CERA 20th Anniversary celebration

Floral display at the CERA 20th Anniversary celebration

The milestone was commemorated with a celebration in Melbourne on 17 November that brought together many researchers, staff and supporters.

“When I arrived in 1990 there were five people and I was the sixth,” said CERA’s inaugural Managing Director, Melbourne Laureate Professor Hugh Taylor AC.

“There was huge potential, so I thought let’s pull together the hospital, the profession, the college and the associations advocating for the blind with the University and call it the Centre for Eye Research,” he said.

Today CERA has over 155 researchers, staff and postgraduate students. In 2015 the Centre published 192 research papers, conducted 19 clinical trials and won 34 competitive grants totally over $4.8 million.

“The thing about research is that it gives us the opportunity of touching so many more lives, because if you find a better way to treat a condition… that’s potentially going to have a positive impact on thousands or even millions of people’s lives,” said Dr Lyndell Lim, Head, Clinical Trials Research Centre.

Professor Tien Wong and Professor Jonathan Crowston

Professor Tien Wong and Professor Jonathan Crowston

“The patient sits at the centre of all the research that we do,” CERA Managing Director Professor Jonathan Crowston said.

“The new technologies that are allowing us to image the eye and measure the ocular function are going to have a major impact in our ability to diagnose and monitor eye disease.

“The eye is also a great indicator for other diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s and cardio-vascular diseases and will soon become an even more useful barometer of a person’s general health.

“I’d like to see CERA have a tangible impact on combating eye disease, and that after another 10 years we could say we stopped even more people from losing their vision,” Professor Crowston said.