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 or the Foundation office. Small profits from these sales are put back into ongoing keratoconus research.

The Keratoconus Research Group, which is based at the Sydney Eye Hospital, is fortunate enough to receive funding from the Foundation. Without the funding and support of the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation, the Keratoconus Research Group would not be able to continue its exploration into the causes of keratoconus.

Keratoconus is a common condition which causes significant visual disability and loss of sight of Australians. It is the most common indication for a corneal transplantation. Recent studies are suggesting that keratoconus is much more
common than previously thought and often runs in families.

Our research team includes Dr Jing Jing You, Dr Li Wen, Associate Professor Michele Madigan, Professor John McAvoy, Mr Chris Hodge and Professor Gerard Sutton (team leader). Our work has resulted in a number of new fi ndings in the
underlying cellular problems of keratoconus. We have published our fi ndings in prestigious journals such as Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology and Experimental Eye Research. We have two further publications that we expect to be in press early in 2013.

In addition to the publications, the research has been presented at meetings around the world, including the Australasian Ophthalmic and Visual Sciences meeting in Melbourne, the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology in Korea, the World Cornea Congress in Boston, the Keratoconus Research Meeting in France and the most esteemed ophthalmic research meeting in the world Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in the United States of America.

Our papers and lectures have sparked further research in the area, with our publications forming the basis of other scientists’ work around the world. Our team has also established the fi rst-ever Australian registry for patients with
keratoconus, which will form part of an Ethics Committee-approved ongoing review of patients with keratoconus. Without the support of the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation and donors in the community, this work would not be possible.

Our research is receiving international recognition and a new collaboration with Professor Charles McGhee at Auckland University has been established for further international research projects.

We are pleased to say that a book co-authored by Professor Gerard Sutton on keratoconus has been very useful for many sufferers of keratoconus. The small profits from the sale of books are put back into ongoing research in keratoconus.

Books available from or the Foundation office.