About Our Research
We hypothesize that pediatric vitreoretinal diseases can be prevented or treated by altering the biochemistry and extracellular matrix structure of the vitreous. We are particularly interested in abnormalities of the vitreous in high myopia and Stickler syndrome.
The goal of the laboratory is to understand the specific ways in which vitreous collagen fiber structure differs in diseased eyes compared to normal individuals and to identify the factors that regulate this abnormal structure. With this information, we hope to develop new strategies to prevent retinal detachment in high-risk individuals.
Age-Related Vitreous Changes
With age, vitreous collagen fibrils aggregate together into fibers. This process contributes to vitreous liquefaction and in turn, to posterior vitreous detachment. Posterior vitreous detachment, or separation of the vitreous from the retina, begins as early as the third decade of life and is completed by an average age of 60. Posterior vitreous detachment is usually benign, although it can sometimes affect vision by causing floaters. In certain conditions of the retina, including diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, posterior vitreous detachment can be beneficial by lowering the risk for developing advanced disease that requires treatment.
Current methods of creating posterior vitreous detachment are either too risky or not effective enough to be routinely employed. By investigating the underlying mechanisms of vitreous liquefaction, we hope to develop a safe drug that could be used to create posterior vitreous development.