CERA

Science and Research

Corneal research

Our corneal research team strives to improve all aspects of corneal transplantation, and develop better treatments for conditions such as Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy and keratoconus.

Overview

CERA investigates all aspects of corneal transplantation. One of our long-term goals is to produce a tissue engineered cornea, which would provide unlimited supply of safe and effective material for transplant to replace damaged corneas, and so preserve and restore sight.

A few other key areas of research include: stem cell technologies to replace the inner cells of the cornea; ways to improve the diagnosis of corneal disease; technical improvements in the retrieval, preparation and storage of corneal tissue; ethical principles of transplantation; and the use of novel hydrogels to assist corneal surgery and to act as a scaffold for cell therapies.

Our corneal researchers lead the Keratoconus International Consortium, a global effort to understand the causes and risk factors for keratoconus. This group has developed a database of cases that can be analysed through artificial intelligence tools, assisting diagnosis and disease progression.

Why this research matters

Corneal diseases cause a significant burden of blindness, especially in countries where eye banks and corneal donation are not well developed. Even in the first world, transplantation failure rates from rejection and other complications are too common.

CERA’s corneal research aims to correct many of the issues that currently hamper our ability to restore sight in these conditions.

Key research questions

  • Can we develop a tissue-engineered cornea?
  • How can you diagnose early keratoconus and predict who is likely to progress without intervention?
  • What is the cellular basis of corneal graft rejection?
  • What are the ethical Issues in transnational eye banking?

Keratoconus International Consortium

The Keratoconus International Consortium (KIC) is a worldwide collaboration led by the Centre for Eye Research Australia.