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Corneal Research

Current Research

Vision research funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) is leading to progress in understanding and treating corneal disease.

For example, scientists are learning how transplanting corneal cells from a patient's healthy eye to the diseased eye can treat certain conditions that previously caused blindness.

Vision researchers continue to investigate ways to enhance corneal healing and eliminate the corneal scarring that can threaten sight.

Understanding how genes produce and maintain a healthy cornea will help in treating corneal disease. Genetic studies in families afflicted with corneal dystrophies have yielded new insight into 13 different corneal dystrophies, including keratoconus.

To identify factors that influence the severity and progression of keratoconus, the NEI is conducting a natural history study--called the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus (CLEK) Study--that is following more than 1200 patients with the disease. Scientists are looking for answers to how rapidly their keratoconus will progress, how bad their vision will become, and whether they will need cornealsurgery to treat it. Results from the CLEK Study will enable eye care practitioners to better manage this complex disease.

The NEI also supported the Herpetic Eye Disease Study (HEDS), a group of clinical trials that studied various treatments for severe ocular herpes. HEDS researchers reported that oral acyclovir reduced by 41% the chance that ocular herpes, a recurrent disease, would return. The study clearly showed that acyclovir therapy can benefit people with all forms of ocular herpes.

Current HEDS research is examining the role of psychological stress and other factors as triggers of ocular herpes recurrences.

More about the National Eye Institute (NEI)

The NEI is one of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health. It was established by Congress in 1968 to discover safe and effective ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating eye diseases and disorders.

The NEI is the major sponsor of vision research in the U.S. This research is conducted at about 250 medical centers, hospitals, and universities across the country. Other clinical trials are conducted by NEI researchers at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information about the NEI or NEI-sponsored clinical trials, contact the:

National Eye Institute
Building 31, Room 6A32
31 Center Drive, MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510Mbr> Telephone: (301) 496-5248
Website: www.hei.fov

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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine