The Wesley Research Institute will host international researchers, Professors Robert Hess and Kathleen Mullen from McGill University, Canada, undertaking ongoing studies into the neurological deficits that underlie amblyopia – a common form of child blindness.
Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is a relatively common condition (3% incidence) that results in permanent visual impairment of the affected eye. Amblyopia present during early childhood and is the largest cause of single eye blindness in the adult population.
Professors Hess and Mullen have an ongoing collaboration with Dr Glen Gole, a former The Wesley Hospital paediatric ophthalmologist, and Dr Kathy McMahon, Centre for Advanced Imaging at The University of Queensland.
The research team has demonstrated that the underlying cause of amblyopia involves a disruption of the visual information processing within the brain region that relays visual information from the eye to the brain.
Professor Hess said, “We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural activity within the specific brain regions that transfer visual information to the brain.”
“Our neuroimaging studies compared the functional response from both the amblyopic eye and normal eye in each patient. Results showed that the earliest site of amblyopic dysfunction occurs in the primary structure that transmits visual information to the brain.”
Additional studies from the research team have shown that there is a selective loss to some but not all of the pathways from eye to brain. Their current focus is to identify what brain regions are affected.
“A better understanding of the underlying neural dysfunctional of amblyopia will be key to the development of more effective therapies to treat children with this condition”, said Professor Hess.
The Canadian researchers are currently visiting Brisbane to undertake their final round of functional brain imaging studies. These studies will further characterise amblyopic dysfunction.
Professors Hess and Mullen will also present their research to the public at The Wesley Research Institutes’ Advocates Event on Wednesday July 20 at 5:30 pm.
For more information please contact WRI Marketing Manager, Jason Davidson, on email@example.com or 07 3721 1508 or 0488 551 277.
About the Wesley Research Institute
The Wesley Research Institute is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve quality of life and patient care through medical research. WRI has three main areas – Investigative Research, Clinical Trials and a Tissue Bank.