We collaborate with national and international partners to better understand the relationship between neurological conditions and visual impairment. We’re seeking to understand and treat neurological vision disorders, with research underway in the areas of:
We’re also involved in a number of multi-centre neuro-ophththalmic trials.
We aim to create a collaborative research group which applies the latest scientific understanding to the clinical care cf patients with neurological diseases affecting the eye.
We are extending our work on the ophthalmic assessment of concussion. Sydney University is part of a large international study looking at health in past rugby players being run in conjunction with the Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand. We have held three weekend clinics for people who have had past concussion injuries. With this project we aim to look for ophthalmic biomarkers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Working with us on this project are Dr Chris Hodge and Dr Julian Kelman (masters student). Our team continues to work with UTS Orthoptics and collaborate on studies looking at eye movement changes in children and adults post-concussion. We are also excited to collaborate with the Sports Brain Bank team of Dr Rowena Mobbs and Prof Michael Buckland.
Optic disc drusen
We are collaborating with the International Optic Disc Drusen Consortium (IODCC) to clearly define optic disc drusen subtypes and imaging protocols. The IODDC is a group of researchers from across eight institutions between Copenhagen, Israel, United States, Canada and Australia; Associate Professor Clare Fraser is the Vice-Chair.
This work will lead to future functional studies in optic disc drusen, using the VisionSearch multifocal visual evoked potential device, developed at the Save Sight Institute. We also plan to use optic disc drusen as a means of studying the underlying mechanisms of compressive and ischaemic optic neuropathies.
The dedicated Optic Neuritis clinic continues to study patients with Optic Neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve). Optic neuritis can be associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological inflammatory diseases. We are now working in conjunction with Dr Sudarshi Ramanathan and Prof Fabienne Brilot, looking at the rates of anti-MOG antibodies in clinically isolated syndrome and uveitis.
Giant Cell Arteritis
Work by our team on Giant Cell Arteritis continues with more work on the new simple test using chewing gum to help in the diagnosis of this condition to be published soon. We have been assisting Dr Anthony Sammel (PhD) in his study on PET scanning in GCA in collaboration with the rheumatology team at Royal North Shore Hospital. This is to be expanded to include other vascular imaging modilities including MRI, ultrasound and OCT-A. More of our GCA data is now being reviewed by Dr Julian Quigley.
In March 2018, our team including Dr Jenny Hepscke, won the North American Neuro-ophthalmology Pilot Grant to continue our work on visual snow. We have been working with Prof Paul Martin and Prof Paul Sowman (Macquarie University) to test the visual stimuli that trigger/alleviate visual snow, and testing whether changes in cortical excitability can be detected on magneto-encephalography. Results will be analyzed later this year.
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)
We have started a new research focus on IIH. Dr Juan Ang Lyn is working on an audit of clinical response to weight loss. Formalized clinical trials with dedicated dieticians and intensive calorie restrictions have been shown to treat IIH. However, these resources are not available in a standard ophthalmic clinic. Therefore we are assessing simple, patient-driven weight loss efforts, to see if IIH can be managed and reversed. We will be collaborating with the neuro-ophthalmology team in Birmingham on future IIH studies.
Motor Neuron Disease
In 2019 we started a collaboration with NeuroNode, to see if ocular-derived electrical signals can be used to assist communication in patients with motor neuron disease and other forms of locked-in syndrome. The early results are very promising, and the EOG device has been used in several patients, allowing them to communicate via computer. Further research into patient Quality of Life with this communication device are planned.
Quark_QPI1007 trial in conjuction with NORDIC
This is an international randomised controlled trial on the use of a new intravitreal agent in the treatment of non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy
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