The cornea is the transparent window at the front of the eye that focusses light onto the retina. A clear cornea is therefore essential for vision. Three cell types are required for a clear cornea: corneal epithelial cells (surface of cornea), corneal stromal cells (middle of cornea) and corneal endothelial cells (back of cornea). Each cell type displays a combination of unique properties that contribute to maintenance of corneal transparency. We are therefore developing strategies for growing and implanting all three corneal cell types. Common diseases relevant to this project include Fuch’s dystrophy and keratoconus.
The retina is a complex arrangement of nervous tissue at the back of the eye, that enables reception light. Common diseases of the retina including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are characterised by loss of one or more cell types and sometimes altered growth of surrounding tissues. By studying how to grow and implant cells from the retina and surrounding tissues, we are developing novel treatments for retinal blindness.
Tissues surrounding the eye including the eyelids and accessory glands (e.g. lacrimal glands) are essential to maintaining healthy vision throughout adult life. Loss of this tissue through age, disease and trauma can therefore significantly reduce vision. Thus, we are developing new technologies to replace tissue lost from structures surrounding the eye including eyelids. This work involves the use of latest clinical imaging techniques and additive manufacturing techniques (i.e. 3D printing).