The Retina is the thin layer of cells lining the back of the eye. These cells are light sensitive, sensing light as it hits the eye. The retina sends signals via the optic nerve to the brain, resulting in visual images.
There are multiple conditions of the retina consequently, research is accordingly diverse.
The Research Foundation has participated as the primary site for a number of important clinical trials. Amongst these has been the study of treatments for retinal vein occlusion – the blockage of the small veins of the retina. Retinal vein occlusion and pressure can cause blurred vision or even sudden permanent blindness according to levels of severity. The Research Foundation has investigated the use of anti-VEGF intravitreal injections for the treatment of retinal diseases. The use of this therapy has been found to be effective in treating symptoms of age related wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema as well as retinal vein occlusions.
- Objective three-steps grading of digital fundus photographs of diabetic retinopathy This project is using objective three-step grading of fundus photographs of patients with diabetic retinopathy. 450 hospital-based patients have been screened to date. The three-step process increases the quality of the grading of the screening program. A quality component has been the use of OCT to detect diabetic macular oedema. This project will be expanded in 2012 to include 2 primary practices located in Ranelagh and Churchtown. It is hoped that some of the lessons learned from this programme would be adapted by the proposed National Screening Programme which is scheduled to start by the HSE towards the end of 2012.
- RETAIN Study This is a phase 3 clinical trial investigating the use of Ranibizumab (anti-VEGF medication) for the treatment of macular oedema. The Research Foundation is the principal investigating site for the study. The project started in January 2011 and will continue until January 2013. 5 patients have enrolled in the study which requires monthly visits and extensive investigation of each patient.
- BRIGHTER Study This is a phase 3 clinical trial examining the use of Ranibizumab in the treatment of macular oedema secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion. The Research Foundation will be the principal investigator on site for this trial in Ireland. It is proposed that recruitment for the study will commence in August 2012.
- CRYSTAL Study This is a phase 3 clinical trial examining the use of Ranibizumab in the treatment of macular oedema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion. The Research Foundation will be the principal investigator on site for this trial in Ireland. It is proposed that recruitment for the study will commence in August 2012.