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Funding to boost innovative eye research

(L-R) Dr Elaine Chong, Prof Alex Hewitt, Dr Stuart Keel

(L-R) Dr Elaine Chong, Prof Alex Hewitt, Dr Stuart Keel

Researchers at CERA have been recognised for their excellence in research through the award of three research grants from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA).

Dr Elaine Chong, Professor Alex Hewitt and Dr Stuart Keel were awarded grants in the 2019 ORIA Awards, worth almost $150,000 combined.

Dr Elaine Chong hopes to develop a new treatment for corneal disease, as an alternative to a corneal transplant. Dr Chong’s study will investigate whether removing just the innermost layer of the cornea – the clear window at the front of the eye – in a particular type of corneal disease called Fuchs’ Endothelial Dystrophy, can improve vision, without resorting to a full corneal transplant.

Professor Alex Hewitt will investigate a gene that his team have discovered to play a role in Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA); the most common form of vasculitis in elderly people. This work may lead to the development of a genetic test for the condition, enabling timely diagnosis and intervention for this sight-threatening ophthalmic emergency.

Dr Stuart Keel’s research will combine an artificial-intelligence based software for the detection of diabetic retinopathy and other common blinding eye diseases with an automated portable retinal camera to allow screening in general practice settings.   Dr Keel hopes that this will offer a feasible and cost-effective solution for Australian general practitioners to perform point-of-care screening for eye disease.

Congratulations to our successful researchers and their teams.

The ORIA is the research arm of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, supporting research into all major eye diseases.