Eye Department

Research links

The Eye Department has strong clinical links with Newcastle University. Our research is focused on eye disorders that can lead to blindness and our priority is to develop new effective treatments to help patients that we see in our clinics.

           Picture inside the eye

Newcastle Eye Research Group

With access to a large pool of patients attending specialist services at the Eye Department, the Newcastle Eye Research Group has developed an ambitious research programme that aims to analyse the molecular and genetic basis of sight-threatening disorders. These include disorders affecting the cornea, retina and optic nerve.

Our aim over the next five years is to significantly advance our basic understanding of these progressive and frequently untreatable causes of blindness. We will do this by pursuing cutting-edge experimental approaches to develop new effective treatments, and by working with other local and international world-leading research groups.

Groundbreaking research

The eye is an organ that can be easily accessed to deliver treatment directly to the site of injury. There have been major advances in our understanding of how an individual’s genetic code (DNA) can influence them to suffer certain diseases, and the use of stem cells is opening up the possibility of replacing defective cells within the eye (so-called ‘regenerative medicine’).

Groundbreaking work by the Newcastle Eye Research Group in these challenging areas of research has attracted significant funding over the years. Major grants have come from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and Fight for Sight.

By working closely with local patient groups and our university partners, the Newcastle Eye Research Group is also developing strong links with the pharmaceutical industry to translate their basic research programmes into early phase clinical trials.

Over the past ten years, other major research strands have developed, which include research into:

  • the best way to manage children with squints
  • thyroid eye disease
  • age-related macular degeneration
  • the impact of cognitive impairment on visual function.

Key researchers

Key researchers working with the Newcastle Eye Research Group include:

  • Mr Andrew Browning – Retinal genetic disorders and visual electrophysiology
  • Mr Michael Clarke – Paediatric ophthalmology and visual perception in neurodegenerative disorders
  • Professor Francisco Figueiredo – Corneal disorders and limbal stem cell transplantation
  • Mr James Talks – Age-related macular degeneration and clinical trials
  • Mr Patrick Yu Wai Man – Neuro-ophthalmology, optic nerve disorders and mitochondrial genetics
  • Dr Jo Jefferis - Effects of brain-ageing on visual symptoms; impact of early dementia on the outcomes of cataract surgery

More information

We are keen to engage with enthusiastic clinicians and scientists who would like to be involved in our research programme.  You can find out more about our researchers and the projects they have worked on:

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