Research at New England Eye Center

Basic Research: 
Noorjahan Panjwani, PhD,
Director of Research,
Department of Ophthalmology
Clinical Research: 
Elias Reichel, MD,
Vice Chair for Research and Education,
Department of Ophthalmology
Genetic  Epidemiology: 
Johanna M. Seddon, MD,
Director of Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Service,
Tufts Medical Center
   

Researchers at New England Eye Center at Tufts Medical Center affiliated with Tufts University School of MedicineNew England Eye Center's research portfolio is robust.  Our Vision Research Laboratory encompasses all laboratory-based programs, as well as clinical research funded by the National Eye Institute. We have a multitude of clinical trials being conducted across all subspecialities within the Department.

We were one of the first to report the use of intravitreal triamcinolone, which is now used widely to treat a number of eye diseases, as well as transpupillary thermal therapy for occult choroidal neovascularization. For the past few decades, we have been involved in many other industry- and NIH-sponsored studies of the most exciting recent advances in ocular therapeutics in retinopathy of prematurity, retinal vein occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.

Perhaps most notably, since the early 1990’s, the New England Eye Center has been at the forefront in ophthalmic imaging research. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), we were involved in the development of a revolutionary ocular imaging technology, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and since the development of the earliest OCT prototypes over 20 years ago, we have continued a close collaboration with Dr. Fujimoto’s laboratory at MIT to pursue ground-breaking research in the field of ever-expanding OCT technologies.

The focus of our multi-disciplinary programs ranges from the most basic investigations into the nature of genes and proteins, to targeted studies on mechanisms of eye disease, to ophthalmic biotechnology development, to clinical research and clinical trials. Our investigations cover all categories of eye disease.

Areas of research concentration include:

  • Basic Mechanisms of Corneal Repair and Failure to Heal
  • Pathogenic Mechanisms of Glaucoma
  • Ophthalmic Genetics and Epidemiology
  • Gene Therapy and Translational Research
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Retinal Regeneration
  • Transgenic Models of Eye Development and Disease

New England Eye Center believes that integration of laboratory and clinical research is essential for significant advances to occur. Our programs are distinguished by such integration, and we continually strive to improve.

 

Research programs at the New England Eye Center are funded by:

National Eye Institute Logo
Mass. Lions Eye Research Fund
Research to Prevent Blindness Logo
Foundation Fighting Blindness Logo

Also: other federal agencies, private foundations, commercial organizations, and philanthropy.

 

Why vision research and eye public health initiatives are important

  1. 80 million Americans have potentially blinding eye diseases.
  2. 14 million Americans are estimated to have low vision.
  3. Visual impairment is one of the ten most common disabilities in America.
  4. Two-thirds of visually impaired adults are over age 65; between 2000 and 2030 the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double from 34 to 68 million.
  5. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in America; research has produced promising new treatments but disease awareness and detection remains low and a cure has yet to be found.
  6. 3 million Americans have glaucoma; more than half of the people who have glaucoma are not receiving treatment because they are unaware of their condition.
  7. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in Americans under 65. Although early diagnosis and treatment has been shown to prevent vision loss is more than 90% of patients, an estimated 50% of patients are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.
  8. African-Americans are twice as likely to be visually impaired as are whites of comparable socioeconomic status.
  9. The economic cost of visual disability is great - estimated at more than $55 billion per year.
  10. Many infants and young children are at high risk for vision problems because of hereditary, prenatal and perinatal factors. Research in the 1980s and 1990s found that amblyopia, a leading cause of visual impairment in children, results from visual problems in very early life.

Source: Healthy People 2010 Report