The NEI supports a broad range of basic and clinical research to:

  • Investigate the various antigenic and anti-angiogenic factors and their resultant signal transduction pathways
  • Understand the role of immunity associated with transplantation and corneal graft destruction
  • Investigate methods to regenerate corneal endothelial cells and improve techniques to maintain endothelial cells
  • Increase our understanding of epithelial cell signaling in the cornea and develop strategies to improve the wound healing process
  • Characterize the normal regulation of all tissue associated with tear component formation to identify the dysfunctions occurring in dry eye disease
  • Identify the genes that contribute to the pathophysiology of all corneal disease
  • Develop high-resolution imaging techniques to diagnose and guide treatment of common corneal disorders
  • Understand keratoconus and treatment options
  • Address outcomes for the aging population of post-refractive surgery patient

 

Ocular Pain

  • Investigate the cornea nerves and response to pain
  • Dissect molecular, cellular, anatomical and/or neurobiological mechanisms of ocular pain and hypersensitivity
  • Elucidate the pathophysiology of ocular pain
  • Uncover neural adaptations (such as plasticity) in related ocular pathologies including dry eye disease, photophobia (photoallodynia), ocular surface itch, corneal burns, orbital pain, and ocular trauma
  • Optimize animal model studies directed at understanding eye pain
  • Develop instrumentation for diagnosing and quantifying pain
  • Investigate new approaches and therapeutics to treat and alleviate acute and chronic ocular pain

Program Directors

Corneal Injury and Repair
Tony Gover, Ph.D.
tony.gover@nih.gov

Ocular Pain
Houmam Araj, Ph.D.
arajh@nei.nih.gov

Structure, Function, and Diseases of the Cornea
George A. McKie, D.V.M, Ph.D.
mckiegeo@nei.nih.gov

Last updated: August 2, 2021