The Macular Research Unit (MRU) at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) is calling on all Victorian-based health professionals to join us in the efforts to prevent irreversible vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They can do so by offering their patients with AMD an opportunity to participate in a range of ongoing research studies aimed to tackle AMD.
One of these studies is the Predictive Imaging in the Early Stages of AMD (PRIME) study, which was funded by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia and commenced in 2020. This study aims to help identify who amongst the one in seven Australians with the early stages of AMD are at the highest risk of developing late AMD, and especially neovascular AMD, so that these individuals can be targeted for careful surveillance. This study will also help identify high-risk individuals to target in future preventative treatment trials, thereby making them more feasible and expediting the discovery of an effective preventative treatment.
The PRIME study represents one of many other research studies undertaken at MRU that aims to examine individuals with non-neovascular AMD. These studies can either be a clinical trial of a new treatment or are observational (or non-interventional) in nature. This means that someone with AMD does not need to be involved in a treatment trial in order to help us find new treatments for AMD, since observational studies can help us better understand the disease pathogenesis and pathways, needed to develop new therapies. Participation in research studies at CERA, at the most basic level, involves a once-off appointment where one will undergo new clinical imaging, assessment of visual function and to obtain a blood sample to examine their genetics.
The eligibility criteria for our current studies include:
- Age of 50 years or older
- Bilateral large drusen >125um (with vision of 6/12 or better in both eyes), or atrophic AMD in at least one eye (no vision inclusion criteria).
- Absence of ocular or systemic conditions that could compromise assessment of the retina or AMD (e.g. significant epiretinal membrane).
- Ability to comprehend and sign an informed consent form.
Referral pathways include:
- Mailing Address: Macular Research Unit, Centre for Eye Research Australia, 7/32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002
- Fax: (03) 9929 8717
- Oculo: sent to the practice “AMD Research and Monitoring Clinic”
For any further queries, please contact the Macular Research Unit on (03) 9929 8113 or [email protected].
Author: Dr Zhichao Wu
Zhichao Wu is an optometrist and senior research fellow at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, The University of Melbourne. He completed his PhD at CERA in 2014, and he subsequently received the NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley Clinical Research Fellowship in 2016 to work with leading researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Columbia University. He returned to Australia in 2018 to continue in research that seeks to prevent irreversible vision loss especially from early eye diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration) by providing innovative diagnostics for clinical management and expediting the discovery of new treatments.