Ophthalmologist looking at an eye test on a computer


Shining a light on corneal blindness

Our team is working on new cutting edge diagnostic and treatment methods for corneal transplantation. We aim to prevent blindness and improve outcomes for patients affected by corneal diseases.

About us

Our research aims to create new diagnosis and treatment methods relevant to ocular surface diseases, using state of the art research tools. Since 2012, we have been working with the NSW Tissue Bank  to address cornea blindness within the community.

Our current research areas are:

Study with us

Current research projects available to prospective postgraduate students include:

  • bioengineering cornea to be used for corneal transplantation 
  • development of collagen based delivery system for medications and human cells
  • development of a novel tear based detection platform as a diagnostic tool
  • developing an AI based model to guide surgery

For more information on these research opportunities, please submit an expression of interest

Research highlights

We currently have three streams of research and various research opportunities.

Our research focusses on testing different biomaterials and cultural subtracts to ease and improve the success rate of corneal transplantation. We have begun to culture and develop new methods of transplanting corneal cells, including epithelial, stromal and endothelial cells.

We initiated and established an Australia Corneal Bioengineering Working Group with research teams from NSW Tissue Bank, University of Wollongong, Queensland University of Technology, Centre of Eye Research, Australia (Melbourne) and Melbourne University to work together to build a bioengineered cornea. 

In 2020, we were awarded with near $1million MRFF frontier in health funding to further developed the bioengineered cornea. We aim to find out the exact causes of the disease to develop effective diagnosis and treatment methods. To date, we have identified a potential interaction network specific to this condition. Our research group continues to validate this molecular network.

Additionally, we are on the process of developing an artificial intelligence based system for early diagnosis and progression prediction for keratoconus patients.

We have recognised the importance of implanting machine learning tools for disease treatment. We are working with machine learning experts to develop a personalised management regime for keratoconus patients.

Our research on endothelial diseases focusses on Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and Pseudophakic bullos keratopathy the most common reasons for a patient needing a corneal transplant. We have successfully cultured human endothelial cells for development of cell based therapy to treat these diseases. We also are investigating the use of amniotic membrane to treat eye conditions. 

Tears have long been considered a source for potential disease biomarkers. The health of tears can reflect not only the local ocular surface condition (such as dry eye syndrome)  but also systematic diseases (such as cancer). We aim to develop a novel sensitive detection platform to investigate the molecules in tears and to develop an alternative method for disease detection.

Professor Gerard Sutton

Gerard Sutton

Dr Jingjing You

Associate Professor Con Petsoglou

Dr Chris Hodge

Dr Yves Kerdraon

Save Sight Institute

  • South Block, Sydney Eye Hospital 8 Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
Expression of interest
Submit this form to enquire about higher degree research opportunities.