Detecting Sight Loss

Research details

  • Type of funding: New Lecturers' Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Christos Bergeles
  • Institute: University College London
  • Region: London
  • Start date: January 2016
  • End Date: December 2016
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Glaucoma


It’s important to detect sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma as early as possible. Sight loss from glaucoma can often be prevented with treatment, but it doesn’t have any symptoms in the early stages. So in the UK it’s usually picked up at a routine exam when the optician looks for particular signs at the back of the eye.

A 3D picture of the retina can be created with clever computer processing of 2 (stereo) images of the eyes, taken with a digital ophthalmoscope. This is important because glaucoma affects structures at different depths within the eye. But it’s difficult to focus on all of the retina at once and people’s involuntary eye movements mean that the image will be blurry.

So in this project the researcher is using the very latest advances in microengineering to design and build a new type of camera that’s specifically for eye exams. The idea is to be able to focus on all of the retina in a single shot. This new type of 3D ophthalmoscope could make it possible to detect glaucoma earlier and track its progress more accurately. It could also be very useful for several other conditions that affect the retina and get worse over time, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.