High resolution imaging of the ocular surface during infection and scarring


Advances in ophthalmic imaging technology have exploded over the past decade. Most of the emphasis has been on the posterior eye but Sydney Eye Hospital houses a new generation Optical Coherence Tomographer (OCT) and in vivo confocal microscope for the anterior eye. This project will investigate ways of interpreting and analysing OCT and confocal scans of the cornea (the eye's window) during active infection and the scarring process. Clinical correlates of the scans will be sought such as new ways to measure visual blur and impairment.


Professor Stephanie Watson, Dr Nicole Carnt

Research Location

Camperdown - Central Clinical School - Save Sight Institute

Program Type



Microbial keratitis, or MK, is an infection of the "window" at the front of the eye (the cornea). MK is usually caused by bacteria, but sometimes can be caused by viruses, fungus and other microscopic organisms.
MK occurs in all age groups but more commonly affects people wearing contact lenses and those who have some damage to the front the eye, through accidents or other diseases.
MK causes a red, weeping, painful eye, often with blurred vision. Most people are sensitive to the light and need to wear sunglasses or shades over their eyes. The infection causes an ulcer on the cornea which sometimes is seen as a white spot.
Most often MK is treated for around 1 month, but infections can last several months, in rare cases, years. After the infection heals, there may be a scar on the cornea that causNow we have technology to map these infections as they heal and form scars, but we have a lot of data points and some noise. We are looking for a motivated mathematically minded student who is interested in technology and 3-D mapping to bring greater understanding to the disease and healing process during microbial keratitis .es blurred vision and haloes around lights. The scar can shrink with time.

Additional Information

Save Sight Institute
The Save Sight Institute was established in 1985 and has grown to be one of the top three ophthalmic research institutes in Australia. It is internationally recognised as a centre of innovative research into ophthalmology and as a centre of excellence for clinical research, learning and teaching. Ophthalmology is a highly specialised area of clinical medicine and science and the Save Sight Institute has gathered together a critical mass of clinicians, researchers, equipment and technology which is unique within the University of Sydney.
Through the Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health, the Save Sight Institute has a range of education programmes to suit all stages of a student's career from medical school right through to sub-specialty training. The Discipline has a number of established postgraduate coursework programmes that offer students either a graduate diploma or masters in Ophthalmic Science, Cataract & Refractive Surgery or International Ophthalmology. The Discipline also coordinates undergraduate training in ophthalmology in the teaching hospitals of The University of Sydney, takes graduate candidates for degrees by thesis and by research and offers short courses.
The SSI Clinic provides a public face for the ophthalmic skills of the academic department. It has well equipped laboratories onsite with a number of groups conducting wet-lab research across the range of ophthalmic areas. Extensive clinical (dry-lab) research is also undertaken, with both pharmaceutical company sponsored and investigator initiated studies being conducted.
Ocular Surface Research: http://www.savesightinstitute.org.au/ocular-surface-disease/

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Cornea, infection, inflammation, ocular surface, Imaging

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 693

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