Congratulations to Dr Nicole Carnt who has been awarded a $3,500 grant from The Cornea and Contact Lens Association of Australia for research into lymbal stem cell dysfunction in contact lens wearers.
Dr Carnt, an NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Save Sight Institute, is urging optometrists to expedite specialist referral of contact lens wearers with suspected limbal stem cell dysfunction.
Published in the July 2015 edition of Mivision, Dr Carnt reinforces the importance of a transparent corneal surface to maintain optimal vision.
Dr Carnt points out that “the efficient removal and replacement of damaged cells on the ocular surface is a vital component in maintaining this transparency. A subpopulation of cells, known as stem cells, are able to proliferate and can regenerate tissue.”
These stem cells are located at the junction of the cornea/sclera and the conjunctiva (the limbus) and play an important role in preventing conjunctival cells from invading the cornea, reducing transparency and negatively impacting vision.
Dr Carnt’s research has focused on limbal redness as a result of extended contact lens wear, and is closely aligned with Professor Eric Papas’ work on the oxygen requirements of the limbus.
Dr Carnt now works with Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson’s Ocular Repair Group and is working towards developing better tools to diagnose and monitor the condition to better manage visual outcomes. The harvesting of limbal stem cells in the laboratory, and their transfer from healthy limbal areas to damaged ocular surfaces is an exciting area of research which the Save Sight Institute team is progressing.
To read the full Mivision article please click here.
To support this research please contact us or donate online by selecting the Ocular Repair Group from the dropdown box. Save Sight Institute is a research centre of The University of Sydney and all donations are process through the University.
Photograph: Stephen Tuft, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital.