What the effect of stem cell activity in eye socket tissue from people with TED?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mr Daniel Ezra
  • Institute: UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
  • Region: London
  • Start date: May 2013
  • End Date: May 2014
  • Priority:
  • Eye Category:


Graves orbitopathy, also known as thyroid eye disease (TED), is an autoimmune disorder. This means the body fights itself instead of just infection. TED can eventually cause blindness.

TED involves scar tissue developing (fibrosis) and a build-up of fat around the eye. This leads to visible symptoms such as the eye bulging out. We don’t fully understand the changes going on in these cells to make it happen.

In this study Mr Ezra and team are looking at similarities between the cells involved in TED and stem cells that can become tissues such as fat, bone and cartilage. They are using skin samples from around the eyes of people with and without TED.

Some of the team’s previous results suggest that there may be more stem cell activity around the eye in people with TED. So now they want to know whether this is the case and if so, whether the stem cells are behind the scarring and extra fat. Their results should give us a much better understanding of TEDs affects around the eye. In turn this could make it easier to develop treatments.