My research background is focused on understanding how and why diseases such as cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma and dry eyes afflict sufferers and then working on novel therapies that will give these people relief and help preserve their eyesight. Broadly speaking my research falls into 2 categories: clinical and basic science, the latter also called laboratory based research.
Clinical research can involve participation of my patients in international clinical studies looking at new treatments for diabetes and macular degeneration or smaller studies where for example I treat people with dry eyes with combinations of therapies in order to evaluate whether these combinations improve their symptoms compared to conventional treatments. Other clinical studies are looking at the use of a new type of laser treatment in managing diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration.
Laboratory based research is aimed at the development of therapies that will hopefully benefit patients in the intermediate or long term. Currently I am involved in several projects with Indiana University, Indianapolis in the USA. In general terms these projects involve the investigation of adult stem cells as treatments for potentially blinding diseases such as diabetes and macular degeneration, for example in diabetes fixing the damaged blood vessels in the retina that cause loss of vision. In another study we are looking at how stem cells could be harnessed for treating the early forms of macular degeneration (Dry AMD), for which currently there is no effective treatment. In a further study we are focusing on understanding why the eyes of some people with long-standing diabetes seem to be protected from blindness. Indeed blood samples from many of my patients have and are contributing hugely to our increased knowledge in this area. Watch this space!