There are three main lines of research, funded by national, european and private funds.
Keratoconus research – development of an adaptive optics visual simulator (W-Lens project)
The project pertains to the development of a new method for the treatment of the optical problems associated to keratoconus. The method relies on the implantation of a customised lens that will be manufactured for each individual eye using data from novel diagnostic methods. The work comprises all the actions needed to understand quantitatively the role of optical aberrations in the visual performance of the keratoconic eye, the methodology for measurement of the eye and calculation of the customised p-IOL surface shape (p-IOL design) and the definition of inclusion and exclusion criteria for this new treatment. Practically the work pertains to the development of a new surgical method in which specialized novel diagnostic methods wil support the decision-making and design the treatment. As a result, the patient will have the option to undergo these tests and if eligible will be receiving a phacik IOL that is designed specifically for the patient’s eye.
Currently, a purposely-built adaptive optics visual simulator featuring a wavefront sensor and two wavefront correctors has been developed at the lab.
This project is funded by the National Strategic Reference Framework Greece (project number Τ1ΕΔΚ-03913)
Compact instrument for the measurement of macular pigment optical density (MOMENTO)
Macular pigment is a yellowish pigment found at the central part of the retina of the human eye. It is believed to have two distinct roles: it protects the photoreceptors from photochemical damage by blocking high energy blue light, and it acts as an anti-oxidant, dealing with the harmful free radicals in the retina. It consists of three carotenoids that are of purely dietary origin and its density in the eye can be affected by a number of factors such as obesity and smoking. Recent studies have found a correlation between the macular pigment and an Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), one the leading causes of blindness in the Western world, making its assessment critical for retinal health. Currently, however, there is only a small number of commercial devices to assess the optical density of macular pigment, that are suitable for clinical use. The most common one is based on a psychophysical technique called eterochromatic Flicker Photometry but it requires time and typically only healthy subjects can carry out the required task successfully. The lack of an accurate,
rapid and low-cost instrument is the main reason that this, otherwise important, pigment is not part of standard eye care. The objective of this project is to build an objective, non-midriatic instrument which will assess the macular pigment in a precise, rapid and accurate way. The instrument will be built around a patented technology invented by the participants in the project, based on fundus reflectometry. The method illuminates the ocular fundus with pulses of structured light of different wavelengths using LED, and the intensity of the reflected light is measured using a high-speed
photodetector. Subsequently, with the appropriate processing of the signal, the macular pigment optical density can be calculated fast and accurately. This innovative method minimises light exposure of the fundus and it simplifies largely the measurement compared to the other techniques.
No input from the patient is needed from the measurement and we introduced a stereo-camera system for fast pupil alignment. Such an instrument can be proven valuable both in research but also in clinical practice: We foresee that it will help establish the correlation between AMD and the optical density of macular pigment and potentially other retinal disease or health factors, but, most importantly, it has the potential to became part of the standard eye test to help prevent from AMD.
This project is funded by the European Horizon 2020 Attract project (project MOMENTO-528)