Support for our endeavors
comes primarily from the
National Institutes of Health

Glaucoma & Ocular Hypertension Investigators

Steven Bassnett, Ph.D. (Imaging)

The lens functions to form a sharply focused image on the retina. To do this, it must remain transparent throughout life and flexible enough to allow the eye to accommodate properly. Loss of lens transparency (cataract) is the most common cause of blindness in the world. Age-related 'stiffening'; of the lens affects almost everyone over age 50 and results in an inability to focus on near objects (presbyopia). Studies in my laboratory are aimed at understanding the cellular basis of transparency and accommodation. One current project concerns the developmental processes that enable lens transparency.

Feng Gao, MD, PhD (Epidemiology)

Feng Gao, Research Assistant Professor, joined the Division in March, 2003. Dr. Gao received an M.D. in Preventive Medicine in 1990 and a M.P.H. in Medical Statistics in 1996 from Beijing Medical University (China). From 1990 to 1998, he was a Teaching Assistant and then an Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Statistics, The First Medical School of Beijing Medical University. He received his M.S. (2002) and Ph.D. (2003) in Biostatistics at Emory University, Atlanta.

Jeffrey Gidday, PhD (Neuroprotection)

Research in our laboratory is aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of vascular and neuronal protection against CNS ischemic injury by a process called hypoxic preconditioning, wherein exposure to sublethal hypoxia promotes the activation of an endogenous protective phenotype in these cells. We also study inflammatory and oxidative mechanisms of vascular and neuronal injury in brain and retina of genetically engineered mice using videomicroscopic and other methods to directly visualize these injury processes. Cerebral and retinal endothelial cell cultures are also used as concomitant in vitro models of ischemic injury and preconditioning-induced protection.

Mae Gordon, PhD (Biostatistics)

Dr. Gordon serves as director of the department Biostatistics Core Module. An important mission of the Biostatistics Core is to conduct pilot studies to provide a sound scientific foundation for larger, definitive studies. Dr. Gordon is director of the Coordinating Center for the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, a randomized clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medication treatment in preventing glaucoma in individuals with ocular hypertension. The study involves 35 participating clinics nationally and over 1, 600 participants with ocular hypertension.

Michael Kass, MD (Epidemiology)

Dr. Kass is the Principal Investigator of the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS), an NIH supported trial conducted in 22 clinical centers in the United States. OHTS was the first trial to demonstrate definitively that treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) delays or prevents the onset of glaucomatous damage. OHTS identified risk factors for developing primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) including older age, higher IOP and larger cup/disc ratio. OHTS was the first study to identify central corneal thickness (CCT) as an independent risk factor for the development of POAG.

Carla Siegfried, MD (Physiology)

Carla Siegfried, MD is an associate professor in the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences. She is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. In terms of eye care, our greatest effort is prevention. At age 40, a comprehensive eye exam for everyone is appropriate. Unfortunately, half the patients who have glaucoma don’t know they have it. Advanced damage is avoidable if we can detect disease early. There is little reason for people in the United States, or anywhere in the world, to go blind from glaucoma. It’s a treatable condition in the vast majority of cases.

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The Vision Research Community at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University School of Medicine
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