Research spotlight

Shedding light on the stories behind the research

In this new series of Q&As, we talk to leading researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology about their work. We find out what they've achieved so far, the challenges they face and what comes next.

We discover how cutting-edge research is being translated from lab bench to hospital bedside, with treatments and technologies that will transform the lives of NHS patients in the UK and beyond.

A lab scientist carries out an experiment using a pipette at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
AutoMorph outputs: Visualization results of anatomical segmentation, including binary vessel (first two columns), artery/vein (third column), and optic disc (final column).

AutoMorph: a new tool allows researchers to analyse retinal photographs automatically

We talk to PhD student Yukun Zhou about ‘Automorph’, a computer programme he has developed to automatically analyse photographs of the back of the eye (fundus photographs). The tool is a significant development in a rapidly expanding area of medical research known as ‘oculomics’, where artificial intelligence can be used to analyse high-resolution eye images in order to reveal important signs about the health of the whole body. Read the article

Person uses Zeiss camera to check someone for diabetic retinopathy in India

ORNATE-India: tackling diabetes-related vision impairment in India

We talk to Dr Dolores Conroy, ORNATE-India’s Project Manager, about this joint UK-India study, which set out in 2017 to explore ways of combatting blindness due to diabetic retinopathy in India. We discover the technical innovations the team developed to roll out screening for DR into the community, the challenges they faced, and how COVID-19 has affected the project so far. Read the article

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) seen through a microscope. Credit: Nissim Benvenisty, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Goal in sight for the London Project to Cure Blindness

We talk to Professor Pete Coffey about the London Project's success in restoring sight in patients with severe wet age-related macular (AMD). He describes the revolutionary stem-cell-based technique developed by his team, whereby new retinal cells are grown in the lab before being transplanted into patients. We learn about how the project has paved the way for regenerative medicine to tackle a range of diseases. Read the article

Retinal photograph with the vasculature marked out. Credit: UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium

Unleashing the potential of big data in ophthalmology

We talk to Professor Paul Foster about the UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium, a national database containing detailed eye health information from over 110,000 participants. UK Biobank is an invaluable resource for biomedical research that is already helping to transform healthcare – with eye research playing a leading role thanks to the efforts of Paul and his team. Read the article

Headshot of Dr Pearse Keane

Moorfields and Google DeepMind: bringing A.I. closer to the eye clinic – Q&A with Dr Pearse Keane

We talk to Dr Pearse Keane about the collaboration he initiated between Moorfields Eye Hospital and Google DeepMind to bring the power of Aritifical Intelligence to the clinic, with the aim of speeding up the diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration. Read the article

Photo of Professor Michel Michaelides sitting in an office

Taking gene therapy to the next level – Q&A with Professor Michel Michaelides

We talk to Professor Michel Michaelides about his work bringing the latest gene therapy technology to the clinic, including the trials giving hope to patients who currently have limited or no treament options. Read the article