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INSIGHT Research #4: Prof Guymer talks to Dr Lauren Ayton about HOVER

Dr Lauren Ayton is CERA’s Clinical Research Team Leader of the Bionic Eye project. She has played a key role in the first successful human clinical trial of a retinal prosthesis.

“The goal of my research is to develop novel treatments for blindness and methods for assessing outcomes in vision restoration clinical trials. I am particularly interested in developing more accurate ways to measure a person’s level of vision at the extreme ends of the vision loss spectrum – be it people with the earliest signs of a risk of losing vision at the initial stages of disease or those with extremely poor vision,” says Dr Ayton.

Talking with Prof Guymer, Dr Ayton discusses about her work as co-founder with Professor Joseph Rizzo of Harvard University, and Chair of the International Taskforce for Harmonization of Outcomes and Vision Endpoints in Vision Restoration Trials (HOVER).

“HOVER brings together over 100 of the world’s leading researchers in vision restoration and we are working toward creating a globally accepted gold standard to measure the small, incremental improvements in vision brought about by the Bionic Eye,” she says.

To date there is no accepted international standard for measuring vision loss when the loss is severe, and the groups working in this area have been taking slightly different approaches in judging changes in vision. An agreed consensus will help researchers and patients.

Bringing together researchers from all over the globe to work on the HOVER project has not been easy.

“We are in the final stages of the negotiations as the guidelines have been written and there should be agreement in the next few months.

“The beautiful thing is that everyone involved in the Taskforce wants the best outcomes for the patient,” says Dr Ayton.