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Unit on Clinical Investigation of Retinal Disease

About our work

The Unit on Clinical Investigation of Retinal Disease’s interest is in understanding the retinal disease from clinical study to provide insights into disease pathogenesis, developing outcome measures for clinical trials and conducting interventional trials.

Our group uses multi-disciplinary approaches to clinical study aimed at understanding the patterns of photoreceptor dysfunction and degeneration in retinal disease. The retina is uniquely positioned for advancement in therapeutic intervention for disease. Its accessibility, unique biology and advances in functional assessment tools and imaging make the focus poised for progress in advancing translational research.

Current research

The current research areas include retinitis pigmentosa (RP), late onset retinal degeneration (LORD), age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and drug toxicity (hydroxychloroquine) induced retinal degeneration.  The ability to draw on the large population of patients with both common and rare diseases that are seen at the NEI enable us to study the state of photoreceptor dysfunction across diseases and severities and to implement treatments to change the trajectory of cell death.

Ongoing active clinical trials

19-EI-0056: A Survey Study of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Clinical Measures and Repeatability Testing of Potential Outcome Measures

18-EI-0068: An Investigation of Vitamin A Palmitate Supplementation in Patients with Reticular Pseudodrusen (RPD) and Delayed Dark AdaptationAn Investigation of Vitamin A Palmitate Supplementation in Patients with Reticular Pseudodrusen (RPD) and Delayed Dark Adaptation

18-EI-0067: An Investigation of Vitamin A Palmitate Supplementation in Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (and without reticular pseudodrusen) and Delayed Dark Adaptation

17-EI-0112: A Long-term Follow-up Study of Participants Enrolled in 11-EI-0147: Longitudinal Investigation of Dark Adaptation in Participants with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (DA_AMD)

11-EI-0147: Longitudinal Investigation of Dark Adaptation in Participants with Age-Related Macular Degeneration

 10-EI-0140: Genotype-Phenotype Study of Patients with Plaquenil -Induced Retinal Toxicity, with Evaluation of the ABCA4 Gene

 03-EI-0033: X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis - Clinical and Molecular Studies


Selected publications

Chen KG, Alvarez JA, Yazdanie M, Papudesu C, Wong WT, Wiley HE, Keenan TD, Chew EY, Ferris FL 3rd, Cukras CA.  Longitudinal Study of Dark Adaptation as a Functional Outcome Measure for Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  Ophthalmology. 2019 Jun;126(6):856-865.

Flamendorf J, Agrón E, Wong WT, Thompson D, Wiley HE, Doss EL, Al-Holou S, Ferris FL 3rd, Chew EY, Cukras C. Impairments in Dark Adaptation Are Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration Severity and Reticular Pseudodrusen.  Ophthalmology. 2015 Oct;122(10):2053-62. PMID: 26253372

Yazdanie M, Alvarez J, Agrón E, Wong WT, Wiley HE, Ferris FL 3rd, Chew EY, Cukras C. Decreased Visual Function Scores on a Low Luminance Questionnaire Is Associated with Impaired Dark Adaptation. Ophthalmology. 2017 Jun 8.

 Allahdina AM, Stetson PF, Vitale S, Wong WT, Chew EY, Iii FLF, Sieving PA, Cukras C.  Optical Coherence Tomography Minimum Intensity as an Objective Measure for the Detection of Hydroxychloroquine Toxicity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Apr 1;59(5):1953-1963.

Cukras C, Huynh N, Vitale S, Wong WT, Ferris FL 3rd, Sieving PA. Subjective and Objective Screening Tests for Hydroxychloroquine Toxicity. Ophthalmology. 2014 Oct 14. pii: S0161-6420(14)00735-0.

Unit on Clinical Investigation of Retinal Disease key staff

Key staff table
Name Title Email Phone
Tharindu de Silva Staff Scientist 301-496-9058
Elliott Vanderford Postbac IRTA 301-451-7362

News from this lab

Emily Chew

Emily Chew named NIH distinguished investigator

November 21, 2023

A longstanding member of the NEI/NIH community, Emily, Chew, M.D., has been promoted to the title of NIH Distinguished Investigator for her tireless and prolific work as a care provider and clinical trialist.
Tiarnan Keenan

Patients use device to monitor AMD at home

July 16, 2021

Tiarnan Keenan, NEI Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, and colleagues found that people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can successfully use the Notal Home OCT device to monitor their disease.

Omega-3s from fish oil supplements no better than placebo for dry eye

April 13, 2018

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements taken orally proved no better than placebo at relieving symptoms or signs of dry eye, according to the findings of a well-controlled trial funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health

Last updated: January 13, 2020