Seeing Beyond Lecture Series

On Wednesday the 2nd of October 2019, Professor Keith Martin and Dr Lauren Ayton presented at the Department’s Seeing Beyond Lecture Series. Thank you to all who attended (and rural practitioners who joined us online). Professor Martin and Dr. Ayton provided an excellent update on advances in gene therapy and clinical trials for patients with inherited retinal regenerations and glaucoma.

Seeing Beyond Lecture Series 2020: Optometry toolbox: Future and current assessments of visual function for glaucoma

Date: To be advised

Guest speakers: Professor Allison McKendrick and Dr. Flora Hui from the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Biographies and Presentation Summaries

Dr Flora Hui

Flora completed her Bachelor of Optometry at the University of Melbourne, and her Masters and PhD studies in the same Department. She spent a few years at the Centre for Eye Research Australia, focusing on shortening the timeframe to detect glaucoma progression in the clinic and how we can use the retina as a biomarker for other neurodegenerative diseases. Flora has a keen interest in advancing clinical tools for ocular diseases, such as glaucoma, to improve patient outcomes.

Glaucoma: Can ganglion cells improve in function? And how would we measure it?
Glaucoma has classically been thought of as a one-way street, where retinal ganglion cells slowly die, and patients lose vision. But what we’ve discovered, is that there may be critical timepoints at which ganglion cells can survive, and potentially thrive again if the stressors from glaucoma are relieved. Here, we’ll explore the findings, from mouse to clinic, to see if we can detect changes to how ganglion cells function and whether they can be supported despite disease.

Professor Allison McKendrick

Allison is Head of the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She has wide-ranging research interests in both ophthalmic and neurological conditions. Her research lab has applied aims including: the development of better clinical tests for the assessment of vision loss, determining methods of earlier detection of vision loss, and improving the understanding of the consequences of vision loss on performance in natural visual environments and day-to-day tasks. Allison’s research program is highly collaborative with colleagues from ophthalmology, psychology, physiotherapy, neurology and neuroimaging.

Perimetry: what patients actually think about it, and why patient opinion really matters.
Measuring visual field status is essential for glaucoma diagnosis and management. Anecdotally, both patient and operator experience of visual field testing can be negative. But, beyond anecdote, what do people who regularly undergo perimetry really think about visual field assessment, and what would they like to see improved? To find this out, we conducted a survey, distributed via Glaucoma Australia, to get first-hand information regarding experience and preferences with visual field testing. Here we will explore the results of the survey, which reveals some simple strategies to improve patient experience in your practice.