Corneal Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Current Corneal Research
Vision research funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) is leading to progress in understanding and treating corneal disease.
For example, scientists are learning how transplanting corneal cells from a patient's healthy eye to the diseased eye can treat certain conditions that previously caused blindness. Vision researchers continue to investigate ways to enhance corneal healing and eliminate the corneal scarring that can threaten sight. Also, understanding how genes produce and maintain a healthy cornea will help in treating corneal disease.
Genetic studies in families afflicted with corneal dystrophies have yielded new insight into 13 different corneal dystrophies, including keratoconus. To identify factors that influence the severity and progression of keratoconus, the NEI is conducting a natural history study--called the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus (CLEK) Study--that is following more than 1200 patients with the disease. Scientists are looking for answers to how rapidly their keratoconus will progress, how bad their vision will become, and whether they will need cornealsurgery to treat it. Results from the CLEK Study will enable eye care practitioners to better manage this complex disease.
The NEI also supported the Herpetic Eye Disease Study (HEDS), a group of clinical trials that studied various treatments for severe ocular herpes. HEDS researchers reported that oral acyclovir reduced by 41 percent the chance that ocular herpes, a recurrent disease, would return. The study clearly showed that acyclovir therapy can benefit people with all forms of ocular herpes. Current HEDS research is examining the role of psychological stress and other factors as triggers of ocular herpes recurrences.
Last Editorial Review: 5/9/2007