Inherited Retinal Diseases
Retinal gene and cell therapies
Since 2007 a small, but lively clinical research group, composed of an international team with Dutch, German, Hungarian, Indian and Thai team members, was established.
One main topic is the ocular surface:
Multiple studies concerning clinical diagnostic procedures to examine ocular surface diseases and especially tear film abnormalities, as tear film interferometry, meibometry and the measurement of tear film osmolarity, were conducted. Additionally biochemical and histological studies, were done to improve the understanding of the physiology and pathology of the pre-ocular tear film in dogs, cats and horses. In collaboration tear film proteins and tear film lipids from healthy and diseased subjects were detected using mass spectrometry (SELDI- and MALDI-TOF). Together with Prof. Dr. O. Distl from the Department of Animal Breeding of the Veterinary School of Hanover Foundation a genetic survey of KCS in the West-Highland-White-Terrier, a predisposed dog breed, was undertaken.
Additionally several studies concerning microbiota of the ocular surface in cats, rabbits and horses, peri-operativ hygiene in ophthalmic patients and infectious diseases of the ocular surface in various species were conducted.
Due to the clinical character of our group, several clinical topics, like the occurrence of ocular changes in systemic diseases in dogs and cats, in elderly cats and in traumatized birds of prey, dacryocystitis in rabbits were derived from the daily work within the clinic.
Additionally new diagnostic procedures, like rebound-tonometry in avian species and ruminants or high-frequency and ultrasound biomicroscopy in equine globes, were tested for their accuracy and reproducibility. Reference values were obtained, whenever the procedure proved to be reliable and values were not yet available within the literature.
Due to the broad spectrum of species seen, some project focus on exotic species:
in collaboration with PD Kerstin Müller, DECZM-small mammal FU Berlin, a survey was done in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), one project, run together Prof. Greenwood of the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, was focused on ocular changes in captive West African Quastenborstler (Atherurus africanus) and another survey is aimed to document and to better understand ophthalmic diseases in captive pinipeds in zoological gardens in Europe.
Last but not least, continuous improvement of academic teaching quality is a central concern. Own firm conviction is, that not only taught knowledge and skills must be evidence-based, but also tools used for teaching should be critically evaluated. For this reason doctoral projects were launched to evaluate new e-learning and SkillsLab tools for their efficacy in improvement of student ophthalmologic knowledge.
The ophthalmology department of the veterinary university Vienna has its research focus on the physiology and pathophysiology of the ocular surface and the infection with Encephalitozoon cunicucli and its ocular manifestations in all species.
Teresa Peña & Marta Leiva, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Fundació Hospital Clínic Veterinari, Barcelona, Spain
Ocular surface: meibometry, tear film osmolarityelt
Corneal diseases and advanced corneal surgery, corneal transplantation
Ocular signs of systemic infectious diseases: leishmaniosis, ehrlichiosis, rhodococcosis, sepsis
The clinical research at the University of Zurich focuses on different clinically relevant areas in the field of veterinary ophthalmology:
Mechanobiology of corneal wound healing: These basic research projects revolve around the hypothesis that the reciprocal force balance existing between cells and their extracellular matrix, called tensional homeostasis, is an important regulator of fibrosis. Pathologic fibrosis can cause major clinical problems in the anterior segment of the eye, most notably loss of transparency and glaucoma. Understanding the basic mechanisms governing cell-ECM crosstalk is becoming increasingly important with the vast increase in popularity of novel clinical and tissue engineering tools that mechanically and biochemically modify the cellular microenvironment and thus affect cell fate. The results have clinical relevance and translation potential for future studies designed to evaluate and develop treatment strategies.
Treatment of infectious corneal disease: Specific foci are the antimicrobial susceptibility of bacterial and fungal corneal infectious agents and the eliminiation of corneal infections and stabilization of the corneal stroma through UV-A/Riboflavin crosslinking of the cornea (CXL), an established alternative to medical treatment.
Treatment of uveitis: Fibrinolytic properties of Desmoteplase (DSPA) which has potential merit as alternative to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for the treatment of acute fibrinous uveitis. The ex vivo permeation and the in vivo fibrinolytic efficacy and toxicity on the eye were tested.
Pars plana vitrectomy for the treatment of Equine Recurrent Uveitis has been evaluated and future studies with intravitreal treatments are planned.
Retina: The recent advent and acquisition of high resolution advanced imaging technologies (microcoil assisted MRT and Optical Coherence Tomography) as well as retinal surgery have given momentum to this new research focus.
For more information get in contact with Peter Bedford: email@example.com
The research focus of the Mowat Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is aging of the senses and brain and the relationship of aging to exposure to environmental toxicants. We have active research studies in these areas. More information can be found at our laboratory website (https://mowat.ophth.wisc.edu/), or by contacting Freya Mowat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ofri's area of interest is the physiology of vision, encompassing both comparative visual optics and retinal electrophysiology, the subject of his PhD thesis (University of Florida). For more than 30 years, Ron has been using electroretinography to study the effects of glaucoma and other retinal diseases on retinal function in various species, monitor disease progression and evaluate novel therapies for these blinding diseases. His groundbreaking work on retinal gene therapy on a herd of sheep with naturally occurring day blindness has resulted in restoration of vision in treated animals for >6 years, and has paved the way to FDA approval of Phase I/IIa clinical trials in humans patients. For more details see http://ksvm.agri.huji.ac.il/staff/ron_ofri.htm or write email@example.com