OSC Colloquium: Abigail Wilson - Imaging Corneal Biomechanics: The missing link for advancing the treatment of corneal disease and refractive error

    Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    1630 E. University Blvd.
    Tucson, AZ  85721

    3rd floor lobby - Reception

    Room 307 - Lecture


    Open to the Campus and public


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    The cornea is the main refractive element of the eye. Its shape, crucial to visual acuity, is governed by the biomechanics of its unique and complex structure. Access to technologies capable of biomechanical screening, accompanied by a comprehensive understanding of corneal biomechanics and the effects of diseases and surgical/non-surgical interventions will revolutionise corneal therapy. However, to-date, laboratory and clinical assessment of corneal biomechanics remains a major challenge in the ophthalmic industry.

    The requirement for a comprehensive understanding of corneal biomechanics has become increasingly important. Over 10 million people per year undergo surgery involving the cornea including refractive and cataract procedures. Meanwhile, a significant number of individuals suffer from Keratoconus which is associated to a progressive loss of biomechanical integrity. Furthermore, we now have access to technologies whereby the mechanical properties of the cornea can be directly modified in a minimally-invasive way, however they are yet to be used to their full potential due to insufficient biomechanical data.

    Here I give an overview of corneal biomechanics and discuss the main clinical challenges, the aims of our research, and the optical techniques we have been using so far alongside the methods we wish to incorporate in the future to provide us with the information we need to deliver advanced diagnosis and safe and optimised treatment of corneal disease and refractive error.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Abby Wilson was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship in 2021 and is based at University College London, UK. Her research is focussed on clinically translatable analysis of corneal biomechanics. She is using different imaging techniques to understand how the biomechanics of the cornea relate to its shape, and hence our vision, and how these change in corneal disease of after interventions. Alongside this Abby is developing new diagnostic imaging tools for use in the clinic to enable early and specific diagnosis of disease, and the opportunity for patient-customised and optimised treatments. Abby has worked closely with industrial (Avedro Inc, Gebauer Medizintechnik GmbH, Carl Zeiss Meditec) and clinical collaborators (London Vision Clinic, Moorfields Eye Hospital) and other UK academic institutions.

    Abby has a MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University, UK, where she also completed her PhD in 2017, during which she developed a speckle interferometric measurement system and procedure to analyse corneal biomechanics before and after interventions including refractive surgery and collagen crosslinking.

    Following this Abby was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Bohndiek Lab at the University of Cambridge (2017 – 2019) where she worked with the team there to develop new optical imaging modalities to improve the diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.

    Abby then moved back to Loughborough University after being awarded a Doctoral Prize Research Fellowship (2019 – 2021) to advance her research on the cornea.