Aim: to develop non-invasive eye tests for early detection and monitoring of neuro-degenerative and other diseases.

Occular Biomarkers

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. A number of disease modifying drugs for AD have been developed, but their efficacy is minimal because AD cognitive symptoms arise only after significant, irreversible neural deterioration has occurred. Hence there is an urgent need for a readily available early diagnostic test for the disease to benefit patients and ongoing research into AD and new treatments.

While neuro-degenerative diseases primarily produce pathology in the brain, some have also been reported to affect the eye. The accessibility of the eye for non-invasive clinical examination makes it an ideal candidate for early detection or monitoring of these diseases.

Clinical Research

The Remote-i project sees clinical eye-test data collected from research participants recruited into other studies, including the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL), DIAN (Directly Inherited AD Network) and other longitudinal and cross-sectional studies. By collaborating with other research studies, extensive clinical information can be gathered for participants, including neuro-psychological and cognitive test results, neuro-imaging results, cardiovascular health, blood biomarkers, genetic profiles and cerebro-spinal fluid markers. The results of eye-tests on the same participants enable statistical investigation of eye changes as diagnostic or monitoring tools for neuro-degenerative diseases.

Ocular Imaging

Computer-aided techniques are being developed for the purpose of analysing ocular photographs from the retina. The purpose of this analysis is to take measurements from the imagery and to identify techniques that could detect changes in the eye associated with neuro-degenerative disease.

Fig. 1: Schematic of the eye

The group is also in the process of acquiring new devices for alternative types of ocular testing, including light scattering, spectroscopic and pupillometric technologies. These devices will expand the range of tests that can be performed and investigated for the purposes of early detection of disease.

Fig.2: Retinal image analysis

Fig.3: Retinal image analysis - Optic disc and vascular geometric analysis

Biomolecular Research

The group has begun research into molecular changes in the eyes of animal models of AD. The aim of this research is to investigate changes in the AD eye on a molecular level. A better understanding of these biomolecular changes will assist in the design of ocular tests to detect these changes and provide early diagnosis of AD.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 08:56

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