Festive Appeal 2022

It’s time to unwrap sight-saving discoveries

This festive season, support CERA’s research into cutting edge technologies and help put hope in sight for people with vision loss and blindness.

Sophie Thomas was only young when she found out she had Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes hearing and vision loss.

The vision loss associated with Ushers syndrome is caused by retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable and slow-moving eye disease.

And even though Sophie now lives a fulfilling and independent life with the help of her seeing-eye dog Yarra, she still has great hope in research – hope for new treatments and hope for a cure for future generations with eye disease.

“I am very passionate about any research that may slow down or even prevent vision loss from this terrible disease – if not for me, then for future generations,” says Sophie.

“I know I won’t get the vision I have lost back, but if research undertaken at CERA could stop me losing more vision, I would be super happy.”

It’s people like Sophie who inspire us. Will you join us?

Next generation gene therapy

CERA’s new Genetic Engineering Research Unit is using cutting-edge technology to pave the way for simpler, longer lasting and more effective eye disease treatments.

Associate Professor Rick Liu is just one of many CERA researchers working to improve the lives of people with vision loss.

As Head of the Genetic Engineering Research lab, he and his team are using cutting-edge nanotechnology and genetic engineering to find new treatments for those with chronic eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Although research has come a long way, today’s treatments for diseases like glaucoma and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are far from perfect.

Some involve eye drops that are uncomfortable and difficult to use. Others require unpleasant injections directly into the eye. Both need to be repeated again and again to be effective.

However, Associate Professor Liu’s work is putting better, more effective treatments within our reach.

Associate Professor Liu and his team have high hopes for what these transformative technologies can achieve.

“Both offer the promise of an effective, long-term treatment that can have a massive impact on patients,” says Professor Liu.

“That’s very exciting and rewarding.”

His lab is using nanoparticles – particles 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair – to carry drugs to damaged cells at the back of the eye. They can also be delivered via an eye drop, potentially replacing the unpleasant injections that are currently needed.

They are also working on new treatments that use gene therapy – to prevent blindness from diseases like Usher syndrome that are currently untreatable.

This involves identifying and delivering a therapeutic gene to the back of the eye that can restore the cells damaged by disease. Importantly, it only needs a single injection to work.

“It’s a fascinating use of nanotechnology because we can do things that were once thought impossible,” says Professor Liu.

Donate this festive season and help Professor Liu continue his sight saving research.

Your tax-deductible donation today will help us unwrap sight saving discoveries for generations to come. Each donation – no matter how little – builds on what has gone before and gives momentum to tomorrow’s breakthroughs with real life impact.

Become a CERA Luminary


With your support, there’s hope in sight. Your tax-deductible donation helps us continue world-leading vision research to find ways to prevent people from going blind.

Be a light for people living with eye disease. From just $15 a month, your tax-deductible donation will help us continue world-leading research to find ways to prevent vision loss and blindness.

Or call us on 1300 737 757 to donate over the phone.

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All donations over $2 are tax-deductible. ABN: 72 076 481 984.

As an international leader in vision research, we are deeply committed to research with real-life impact. Together we work to achieve better treatments and faster diagnosis of eye conditions.

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Thank you for supporting our 2022 Festive appeal

From everyone at CERA, we are truly grateful for your support of research with real-life impact.

Every donation, whatever the size, brings our researchers closer to discoveries that could help preserve sight for many Australians. Thank you for helping us bring hope to people affected by vision loss and blindness.