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Saving sight. Changing lives.

CERA highlights from 2018

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Greetings from the Centre for Eye Research Australia.

My name is Keith Martin and I am delighted to be starting as the new Managing Director of CERA this month.

I’m an ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist and will be joining CERA from the University of Cambridge in the UK where I have led research into how gene therapy and stem cell therapy can reduce optic nerve damage.

I am excited to be joining CERA and working with some of the world’s leading researchers in their quest to prevent vision loss, restore sight and reduce the burden of blinding eye disease in Australia and around the world.

This brief report provides a snapshot of some of the ground-breaking research that has occurred at CERA in 2018, and how the generosity and commitment of our donors helps us to do that.

I thank you all for your support of CERA – our research team could not do its vital work without you. I look forward to meeting you at CERA events during 2019.

Warm wishes, Professor Keith Martin, Managing Director


Christmas appeal supports our clinical trials

Our 2018 Christmas Appeal featured Associate Professor Lyndell Lim, who leads CERA’s Clinical Trials Research Centre (CTRC).

The CTRC conducts clinical studies for a variety of eye conditions, including diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, uveitis and other retinal diseases.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our research to find better treatments and cures, and give new hope to people with vision loss
says Associate Professor Lim.


Restoring sight: Clinical progress towards Australia’s bionic eye

Researchers from CERA have successfully restored a sense of vision in four blind people using a bionic eye, as part of a clinical trial in Melbourne.

Principal Investigator Associate Professor Penny Allen says researchers are “very pleased” with the progress of all four patients who have had a “sense of sight” restored. All four have retinitis pigmentosa which causes loss of vision.

An earlier study of three patients established the safety of a prototype but was restricted to use in the lab. The new study uses a portable device that can be used every day.


25th Lions Ride for Sight a roaring success

We are extremely grateful for the support of the Lions Clubs in Gippsland and the Mornington Peninsula who have supported CERA for the past 25 years.

The 2018 event saw 59 riders cycle from Tidal River to Foster, then onto Wonthaggi, San Remo and Korumburra, a total of over 300km.

The Lions District 201V3 President presented a cheque for $65,000 to Research Fellow Dr Isabel Lopez Sanchez in October. The money raised will go towards supporting CERA’s neurodegeneration researchers, Dr Lopez Sanchez and Associate Professor Ian Trounce.


World-first laser treatment shows promise in slowing ageing eye disease

A world-first ‘nanosecond laser study’ has shown promising results in slowing the progression to vision loss in age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Principal Investigator Professor Robyn Guymer AM led a three-year trial of nearly 300 patients from Australia and Northern Ireland, who received six monthly treatments.

The treatment, delivered to one eye, showed a promising trend towards reducing disease progression in the treated eye of participants with large drusen (lipid rich deposits) which characterise the earlier stages of the disease.


David and Margaret explain why eye research matters

Long time CERA supporters David and Margaret Knight reminded us why eye research matters by sharing their family’s story as part of our 2018 Tax Appeal.

As faces of the appeal, David and Margaret spearheaded a campaign which raised more than $150,000 for our research projects to help eliminate blindness.

Our heartfelt thanks to David and Margaret and every donor who generously supported the campaign.


Common vitamins could stop devastating eye disease

CERA researchers conducted a world-first human trial of an over-the-counter vitamin B3 to treat glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve which affects 60 million people worldwide.

Conducted by Professor Jonathan Crowston and Dr Flora Hui, the six month trial investigated if the therapeutic use of high dosage vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) could be used to support existing therapies for glaucoma, such as daily eye drops or in severe cases, surgery.

“Our study hopes to confirm that vitamin B3 can protect nerve cells from dying, in a similar way that adding oil to a faulty car engine can still allow it to run more smoothly,” says Dr Hui.


$1.2 million donation supports retinal research

We are extremely grateful for a very generous donation of $1.2 million made in 2018 to support our researchers to prevent blindness.

The donor wishes to remain anonymous, but their gift is greatly appreciated and will make a huge positive impact on our research to develop new ways to prevent and treat retinal degeneration.


CERA continues to push the boundaries in eye treatments and transformational research.

You can support CERA by donating online or speaking to one of our friendly Philanthropy team on 1300 737 757.