Researches

PRIORITISED RESEARCHES OF 2014

Eye sight is one of the most important senses as 80% of what we perceive comes through our sense of sight.Lack of clear vision leads a human’s life towards dependency and to a lesser number of opportunities which results in reduced standard of life.Therefore we understand the necessity of protecting eyesight and finding better solutions to the issues pertaining to vision for a person to perceive a quality life.

In India,several eye diseases have emerged as potential threats to the status of sight.The increasing elderly population in the society has increased the risk of age related eye diseases such as age related macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma.Cases of diabetic retinopathy and retinal diseases have also increased with the increasing cases of diabetes among population.In our country pediatric eye diseases are also prevalent due to factors like infections during pregnancy,consanguineous marriages and malnutrition.

Considering the current needs of the population, we at ICIRC have prioritized to research and discover the solutions to treat the emerging eye diseases like glaucoma, retinal diseases, pediatric eye diseases and refractive errors.

Pediatric Eye Diseases

Childhood blindness is one of the priorities identified for achieving the goals of Vision 2020 – the program launched by WHO for elimination of avoidable blindness. It is considered a priority because the blind years are very large. Pediatric eye and diseases need research in all areas because the reasons for development of various eye anomalies are different than in adults. Western India presents unique population due to genetics and environmental factors. The current childhood blindness research is particularly restricted to genetics of eye diseases. The basis, reasons and differences with adult eye diseases are not known. Our focus on childhood blindness goes with studying high incidence of PCO, to evaluate specific mutations for eye diseases in our population and to evaluate etiology of nystagmus, strabismus, retinal diseases, glaucoma, refractive problems, etc.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a second leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. There is no cure for this disease and India has more risk of glaucoma due to high incidence of diabetes. Current global research on glaucoma is focused to evaluate the fact that glaucoma can also be observed without elevation of eye pressure.Research is also going on to find the risk factors and possible treatment modalities. Our focus on glaucoma will be to identify factors responsible for the death of retina ganglion cells. We also plan on conducting research for utilization of phytochemicals in preventing death of retina ganglion cells.

Retinal diseases

Retina is the part of eye that senses light. Diabetic retinopathy is the most affecting retinal disease in India as India is the diabetes hub in the world. Macular degeneration is usually age related and leads to death of retinal neurons. Retinal detachment is another condition which affects the vision of several people in India. Lot of research is directed towards the genetic diseases affecting retina and successful gene therapies have been developed. However, gene therapies are for those patients who have some specific gene anomalies. Our focus is on several Indian plants which are known to have antioxidant properties. We aim to explore their use in the prevention of retinal diseases. Fibrosis is usually associated with several retinal diseases. We initially strive to understand the mechanism behind the fibrosis of retina and later develop a way to prevent it.

Refractive errors

Refractive errors can be treated with glasses, but glasses are sometimes a problem in cases of girls and children. If uncorrected, it can have deleterious effect on the eye. It is identified as a priority by WHO for vision 2020 program. Refractive errors are usually due to genetic factors, malnutrition and age related changes. Current global research is mainly focused on genetics. Our focus is to determine cellular basis for the refraction property of lens and cornea. We also want to conduct researches to determine the genetic basis for the refractive errors.