JCSMR Public Lecture Series: Detecting eye disease by watching the pupils

25 June 2012

Professor Ted Maddess, Diagnostics for Eye Diseases Group, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.

Eye disease and visual impairment cost Australia about $4 billion pa, more than the spending on coronary heart disease, stroke, arthritis or depression (Access Economics 2004). Early diagnosis and better means to monitor the effectiveness of treatment are required. Much of our day to day visual function relies on a small patch of high performance retina called the fovea, which gives us our acute reading vision, face recognition etc. Destruction of the fovea, as in Macular Degeneration, is therefore devastating. That disease and others also affect the rest of the retina, often leading to patchy blindness in our peripheral visual fields that we tend not to notice. Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are the prime offenders for patchy peripheral blindness that creeps up on the fovea later in the disease. Professor Maddess has commercialized improved visual field test devices to quantify this patchy damage (the FDT and Matrix perimeters). Currently all such test devices are based upon behavioural responses from the test subjects and so are unreliable. He and his colleagues are now trying to develop a non-contact and objective visual field test with the Australian company Seeing Machines. The new test is based upon tiny responses of the pupils to light stimuli presented to many parts of the visual field of the two eyes at the same time.

This seminar was held on Monday 25 June 2012.