Visual diseases

This NVRI research program is committed to undertaking clinically oriented vision research, including public eye health, aimed at improving the health and well-being of the community.

Seeing in 3D

Being able to use our eyes together as a pair to see 3D (depth perception) helps us in many ways that we take for granted. Problems with depth perception can affect our ability to judge distances, complete precise hand-eye tasks and move around confidently. If our eyes are not coordinated, this can lead to symptoms of eye strain or distressing double vision, increasing risk of falls and affecting day to day tasks. This program of research focuses on the clinical measurement of depth perception and ability to use the eyes together, in people of all ages, with and without other long term conditions.

Looking after younger eyes

Amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’, is the most common cause of treatable sight loss in young children, occurring in approximately 2% of Australians growing up. Untreated amblyopia has been associated with poor reading scores, fine motor coordination difficulties and low self-esteem in children and young people. Early diagnosis and treatment results in better visual outcomes, but problems with visual processing and depth perception can remain, even after successful treatment. Many aspects of how children respond to amblyopia treatment are still poorly understood. This program of research focuses on the clinical diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia in children, to generate more evidence on barriers to successful amblyopia treatment and design adaptive treatment protocols to maximise visual function in amblyopia.

Looking after older eyes

Older adults are at greater risk of developing eye conditions that threaten sight, yet only half of older adults in Australia attend for regular sight tests. Poor vision in older adults is a significant risk factor for falls, and through impact on ability to engage in daily activities and socialising, is associated with increased risk of depression and cognitive decline. Maximising eyesight for older adults with other co-morbidities such as diabetes, dementia or cardiovascular disease is therefore an important step in maintaining quality of life and independence, thus the optometrist can make an important contribution to integrated care for these conditions that is yet to be fully recognised. This program of research focuses on the role of routine eye examinations for older adults living with long term conditions.