Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) officially launched to showcase leading role for Hong Kong in Eye Health Research
9 Jun 2022
At the forefront of the population’s health and aging imperative and with its mission of generating innovative technologies and unique solutions designed to prevent vision loss and preserve healthy vision, the Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) announced its official launch today. It is the first global hub to conduct ground-breaking research in five key areas – myopia and eye growth, ocular drug discovery and delivery, vision enhancement, tear film and ocular surface, and advanced optometric technology. Supported by InnoHK, the flagship innovation and technology initiative of the HKSAR Government, CEVR is committed to becoming a global leader in eye and vision research as well as a magnet for attracting and training elite researchers, harnessing Hong Kong’s research expertise and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
At PolyU, we understand how research in advanced optometric technology is crucial for preventing vision loss and preserving healthy vision. We are grateful to be able to work with a team of experts in optometry, vision science, biotechnological science, rehabilitation science, and neuroscience, joining forces with them to set up CEVR with the support of InnoHK. We look forward to seeing more technological breakthroughs in eye and vision health in the near future.
Professor Wing-tak Wong
Deputy President and Provost of PolyU
With the collaboration between The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada, CEVR represents a significant step in enhancing the research capacities and innovation applications aimed at addressing eye and vision health challenges, by bringing together multiple scientific disciplines based on the excellent credentials of two leading academic institutions in vision science and eye health research.
Deputy President and Provost of PolyU, Professor Wing-tak Wong, is pleased with the establishment of CEVR, stating, “At PolyU, we understand how research in advanced optometric technology is crucial for preventing vision loss and preserving healthy vision. We are grateful to be able to work with a team of experts in optometry, vision science, biotechnological science, rehabilitation science, and neuroscience, joining forces with them to set up CEVR with the support of InnoHK. We look forward to seeing more technological breakthroughs in eye and vision health in the near future.”
Professor Ben Thompson, CEO and Scientific Director, CEVR, said, “Globally, more than two billion people have vision impairment. In at least one billion – or almost half – of these cases, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. With its mission to generate technologies to prevent vision loss in the aging global population and preserve healthy vision, CEVR is dedicated to creating synergies between world-leading researchers from PolyU and UW to facilitate related research and development, with early successes anticipated in innovative vision health solutions. With the support of the Hong Kong government’s initiative, we are confident of further driving global research collaborations, bringing great opportunities to the local I&T sector and nurturing next generation talent, while also helping develop Hong Kong into an international innovation powerhouse.”
Professor Chi-ho To, COO and Deputy Scientific Director, CEVR, said, “At CEVR, we are committed to nurturing multi-disciplinary research collaborations in order to generate unique technologies and comprehensive solutions with practical applications. We see limitless potential for how and where our eye-health research and technologies can be deployed so as to better address the needs and challenges of people with vision problems, while enhancing overall vision health. Looking forward, we will continue to leverage the synergies of this international collaboration between PolyU and UW to drive more innovative and advanced research programmes and projects to tackle vision problems in the community, ultimately improving quality of life for billions of people around the world.”
Within the five key research areas, CEVR is currently conducting 25 high-potential research projects to address urgent needs and challenges in eye and vision health.
1. Myopia and Eye Growth
This research primarily focuses on an increasingly global issue, which is particularly noticeable in Asian populations. The greater the prevalence and the magnitude of myopia, the higher the risk of vision loss. Despite recent progress, prevention levels are still not acceptable and the cause of myopia is as yet unknown. The research aims at finding effective methods to slow, prevent or reverse myopia progression and preserve eye health while reducing myopia-induced pathologies. As such, these studies require a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted approach and involve refraction, ocular biometry, ocular imaging, aberrometry, molecular biology, histology and pharmacology as well as electroretinography.
2. Ocular Drug Discovery and Delivery
Research in this area is responsive to a key unmet need in eye health, which requires omitting the ocular barriers of drug delivery to the vitreous humor or retina at the back of the eye. Delivery of drugs to the eye remains a significant challenge for drug formulation scientists. Although topical eye drops are the most convenient type of formulation for delivery to the eye, they are generally restricted to use for the front of the eye and are poorly suited for delivery to the back of the eye. Therefore, the programme aims to design, formulate and characterise novel drug delivery formulations that are capable of targeting not only the anterior segment of the eye and diseases such as glaucoma, but also the posterior segment of the eye, for the treatment of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
3. Vision Enhancement
Research into vision enhancement gives particular attention to the preservation and enhancement of vision, which is crucial in addressing the increased risk for a wide range of vision problems among elderly people. These include presbyopia, which affects most people over the age of 55 in focusing on near objects and is the most common visual disorder treated by optometrists. The aim of this research is to develop new technologies that will preserve and enhance vision for elderly people as well as for individuals with amblyopia, occuring when the vision develops abnormally.
4. Tear Film & Ocular Surface
This research is committed to tackling dry eye disease (DED), which is increasing in prevalence worldwide, especially in Asian patients who have a 2-3x higher incidence. As one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to eye care practitioners and one that often requires long-term management, DED causes pain that limits day-to-day activities, leading to poor general health, reduced quality of life and often depression. It is still unknown why the incidence of DED is higher in Asians. This research aims to characterise the biochemistry of ocular surface samples in Asians, in order to identify novel markers that can be used to diagnose, and potentially to predict and treat DED.
5. Advanced Optometric Technology
This research and associated technology aims to develop a dedicated process in order to gain a deeper understanding of optometry and vision science, a field of professional practice and cutting-edge research that encompasses the health of the whole visual system. Research in advanced optometric technology is crucial for the maintenance of healthy vision in an aging population. The research programme aims to develop, validate and commercialise novel techniques for assessing eye and vision health in older adults.
About the Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR)
The Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) is a research collaboration between PolyU and the UW in Canada under the InnoHK initiative of the HKSAR Government. Located in the Hong Kong Science Park, Shatin, Hong Kong, it is the first global hub to conduct ground-breaking research in five key areas – myopia and eye growth, ocular drug discovery and delivery, vision enhancement, tear film and ocular surface, and advanced optometric technology. CEVR’s mission is to generate technologies to treat and prevent vision loss in the aging population and preserve healthy vision.
Ms Angel Lee
Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
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