SUNY Optometry Receives Grant to Reveal Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Effecting Myopia Development
Myopia is a leading cause of vision impairment worldwide and is growing in prevalence, this study aims to provide a deeper understanding of the biology of myopia that will lead to new and more effective treatments
SUNY College of Optometry’s Dr. David Troilo, was awarded a $2.34 million grant from the National Eye Institute (NEI) for his research examining the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling eye growth and the development of myopia (nearsightedness). The investigators hope to provide deeper insight into the causes and development of myopia in children that may form the basis for new and more effective treatments.
The research is being conducted as a collaboration between two experienced researchers and their teams. Dr. Troilo is one of the original developers of the experimental paradigms being used to develop myopic and hyperopic eyes with over 30 years of experience. Dr. Botond Roska is the co-director at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB) in Switzerland and an internationally recognized leader in vision and vision restoration research using genetic and molecular techniques to study cell specific function in inherited retinal disease.
More than half of the world’s population is projected to be myopic by 2050, significantly raising the risk of associated vision-threatening conditions including retinal detachment, maculopathy, and glaucoma. Despite the development of several evidence-based treatments to manage myopia progression, the prevalence and complication rates continue to rise, and treatment has not yet proven to be fully effective. Very little is known about the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that surround myopia development and Dr. Troilo’s and Dr. Roska’s research is an effort to change that.
“We are all very excited about this research project and securing the funding from NEI to make it happen. It will help better understand the mechanisms of visually-regulated eye growth and specifically what happens in the eye that makes them elongate and develop myopia. This is a large and highly collaborative project that involves talented teams of researchers led by Alexandra Benavente and Stefanie Wohl in New York and Tiago Rodrigues and Cameron Cowan in Switzerland. Their experience and expertise, and the great resources at IOB are the keys to the success of this project.”
This investigation meets three of the NEI objectives under myopia research including investigating the biochemical pathways that regulate eye growth; identifying genes that contribute to the development of refractive errors and developing new technologies for assessing or treating refractive errors.
This is the second significant NEI grant SUNY College of Optometry received in 2022 for vision research. The previous grant was awarded to Dr. Stephanie Wohl this past spring. The College remains among the leading three schools and colleges of optometry receiving vision research funding.
About SUNY Optometry
Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research, and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational, and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites as well as an on-site clinic, the University Eye Center. SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan. To learn more about SUNY Optometry, visit www.sunyopt.edu.