Lead by Professor Harminder Dua, Academic Ophthalmology has established itself as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the management of complex ocular surface disorders. Nationally it is without doubt one of the leading centres in this area attracting tertiary referrals of patients from consultant ophthalmologist colleagues from across the country and internationally. The unit boasts an excellent track record in the areas of corneal transplantation, ocular surface reconstruction including amniotic membrane and stem cell transplantation.
Our applied laboratory research has already directed clinical practice in the eye banks, amniotic membrane preparation, storage and use, and more through development of clinical techniques namely, fine needle diathermy occlusion of corneal vessels, a new classification of chemical burns, sequential sector conjunctival epitheliectomy and alcohol delamination of the corneal epithelium for diagnostic and therapeutic indications. These have been adopted by several centres across the world. Recently, we have discovered a new layer in the pre-Descemets zone of the deep stroma (Dua’s layer) that will have profound effect on lamellar corneal surgery and posterior corneal pathology.
Dr Andrew Hopkinson coordinates a multidisciplinary team of clinical and basic science translational researchers in the field of ocular regenerative medicine. The current areas of particular focus include amniotic membrane research as a biological wound dressing, tissue engineering corneal mimetic biological and synthetic constructs for transplantation, limbal stem cells and development of mesenchymal stem cell as a replacement ocular stem cells. Future developments hope to involve engineering corneal endothelium for corneal regeneration.
Mr Winfried Amoaku leads the retinal vascular diseases, ocular neovascularization, and low vision research team. Their laboratory research focus is improving the understanding of disease and treatment mechanisms of retinal vascular disease, including ocular neovascular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. These diseases are the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the western world and the group’s clinical research investigates the treatment of these diseases, and rehabilitation of those with resultant low vision.
Other areas of future research development includes expanding the divisions extensive ocular immunology research program into antimicrobial peptides (defensins) towards developing innovate antibiotic-free pharmacological therapies for the treatment of infections. We also encourage novel research avenues under the umbrella of translational research and regenerative medicine.
The unit has a track record of close collaboration in clinical, and basic multidisciplinary research at all levels both nationally and internationally. This international recognition for translational research encourages international students, clinicians and scientists wishing to undertake research studies within the department. Previous and existing exchanges have resulted in publications in leading international journals.