The Keratoconus Research Group, which is based at the Sydney Eye Hospital Campus, is made up of scientists and clinicians whose focus is on unlocking the cause of keratoconus. Keratoconus is a very common eye condition that results in a distortion of the window of the eye and is a major cause of visual impairment in Australia. In fact, it is the most common reason that people undergo corneal transplantation in Australia.

The Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation has been the major financial supporter of our research for the last 3 years. During this time we have identified a number of problems in patients with keratoconus at a molecular level. These scientific discoveries are world first and have opened up a whole new area of research into the causes of this disease.

Apart from 5 major publications in highly regarded journals, we have presented our research at 10 major national and international meetings. Our most recent paper was published in “Plos” in August 2013. We are zeroing in on the superficial area of the cornea (the window of the eye) as the primary problem area in keratoconus. Our current hypothesis is that the problem lies in the cell communication and protein excretion within this layer. We are now undertaking further work to confirm this hypothesis. If proved correct, it will point to
therapeutic options for the treatment of this disease.

Dr JingJing Yu is a PhD scientist who works fulltime thanks to the support of the Foundation. She is ably supported in the lab by MS Li Wena dn Associate Professor Michele Madigan. Professor John McAvoy provides valuable scientific advice on the Wnt pathway and Chris Hodge and I provide
the clinical input. Chris is currently completing his PhD in Keratoconus.

Without the support of the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation and its generous donors this work would
not be possible. We as a team are determined to uncover the secrets of this disease and we are very
grateful for the Foundation’s support in this endeveour. I look forward to updating you on our continued progress.

Professor Gerard Sutton

Professor Sutton has co-authored a book on keratoconus which has proven useful for many sufferers.

Books are available from kati.kenny@visioneyeinstitute.com.au or the Foundation office. Small profits from these sales are put back into ongoing keratoconus research.