About Dr Andrew White

I am a clinician scientist ophthalmologist with an interest in the mechanisms causing glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Glaucoma causes vision loss, the damage is irreversible. It is predicted by 2020, 110 million will have glaucoma across the world. 7 million of them will be bilaterally blind. The lifetime risk of being blind in one eye once you have glaucoma is somewhere between 30-40% and the risk of being bilaterally blind is 15-20% even in developed countries! Glaucoma is still a poorly understood disease and treatment centres on control of intraocular pressure despite the fact that nearly half of people with glaucoma have normal intraocular pressure. I am interested in translational bench to bedside research that will lead to new treatments for glaucoma as well as better identify patients in need of more aggressive treatments.

My research spans clinical research projects especially looking at innovative application of artificial intelligence to predict which patients with glaucoma are most likely to get worse and require more aggressive treatment utilising both clinical and genetic data to basic research projects in the laboratory trying to understand the mechanisms that cause glaucoma beyond simple problems with intraocular pressure so that new treatments to prevent glaucoma progression can be developed and eventually find a way to reverse sight loss from glaucoma.

My original research training was with a BMedSci(honours) degree at the University of Sydney completed in 1995 looking at visual processing pathways between retina and lateral geniculate nucleus. I went on to do further research in this field as part of a combined MBBS/PhD at the University of Sydney and was able to be the first to describe a new retinogeniculate pathway for colour vision. As part of that I had research experience at the Max Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany and State University of New York where I applied what I had learned about the physiology of vision to look into mechanisms into some of the commonly used tests for glaucoma. Following this I undertook clinical training as an ophthalmologist and undertook subspecialty training as a glaucoma specialist at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, UK. I remained in Cambridge as a consultant ophthalmologist as well as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. During my nearly 3 years there I also undertook research work at the Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge. This research focussed on looking at ways already clinically approved drugs for other reasons might be able to halt glaucoma damage. As part of that I was able to characterise how a common class of antihypertensive drugs (Angiotensin II blockers) can prevent cell death which causes glaucoma. On my return to the Westmead Millennium Institute I have started to look into how the Renin-Angiotensin system in the eye can be modulated better to develop more effective treatments. Techniques developed as part of that have application for exploring other mechanisms bend the pathogenesis of glaucoma as well as developing treatments to halt them. My continued clinical responsibilities at Westmead Hospital also allow me to take any breakthrough findings to clinical trial should they show enough promise. It also allows me to maintain a number of clinical research interests. I am also the chair of Glaucoma Australia's Expert Advisory Panel and am on the Advisory Board of World Glaucoma Association. I have ongoing collaborations with colleagues at the University of New South Wales, Flinders University in Adelaide and the University in Cambridge, UK.

Selected publications

A full list of my research publications is available via my University of Sydney Profile