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Last year, Dr Elisa Cornish (Chief Investigator) and A/Prof Samantha Fraser-Bell (Other Investigator) received a Priming Grant to the value of $50,000 for their work titled “Near-infrared Light Photobiomodulation Treatment for Retinal Vein Occlusion Macular Oedema” In her grant application, Dr Cornish wrote that blockages in the retinal veins (retinal vein occlusions, RVOs) can reduce vision of patients due to the development of macular oedema. Injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) inhibitors into the eye are the gold standard treatment for this but are associated with potentially sight threatening risks.

She said a less invasive treatment might have many advantages. “We recently showed that eyes with macular oedema caused by diabetes, (the other main cause of macular oedema), which received treatment with near-infrared (NIR) light was not only safe but was also effective in reducing the swelling,” said Dr Cornish. “The US Diabetic Retinopathy Research Collaboration are currently recruiting for a larger study of NIR light which may or may not confirm our findings. We propose to test the safety and efficacy of the same NIR light in patients with macular oedema from retinal vein occlusion. This pilot study will help determine whether PBM with NIR for RVO warrants further investigation in a larger study.”