Better treatment for glaucoma and corneal disorders
The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) has been awarded $25 million under the Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme to research two major causes of blindness – glaucoma and corneal disorders.
Every year, an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million new cases of blindness due to corneal diseases or glaucoma are reported, mostly in Asia among the elderly and young children. The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) alone sees over 15,000 cases of corneal diseases and some 34,000 cases of glaucoma annually. These two conditions are treatable with medication at an early stage. However, many patients eventually need surgery to save their vision.
The success of surgery, and hence avoidance of blindness, depends largely on controlling the amount of wound healing and inflammation. Professor Donald Tan, who is the Chairman of SERI and the Medical Director of SNEC, says that Asians have a high rate of scarring and failure after surgery. There is therefore a need for better wound healing (anti-scarring) therapy to improve outcomes.
“We hope to develop novel anti-scarring or wound healing treatments, as well as better and safer alternatives in drug therapies. These will eventually translate to better outcomes in corneal and glaucoma surgery and improve care for our patients, reducing the incidence of blindness,” says Professor Tan who is the lead principal investigator for this research project.
The project is a multi-centre study that involves collaborative teams of local clinician researchers, as well as basic scientists and bio-engineers from local and international academic research institutions in Japan, USA, UK, Australia, Israel, China and Germany.