Research and development

Optegra is working towards becoming a centre of excellence for ophthalmic clinical research and we are currently working with suppliers, surgeons and academics in a variety of research areas. Optegra Eye Sciences is committed to championing innovations in eye care.


Championing innovations

The Eye Sciences team works with surgeons, industry partners and academics to identify and evaluate new treatments and technologies. This involves preparing new treatment proposals, conducting reviews of the literature and consulting with external ‘experts’ where appropriate. This has worked successfully to evaluate new glaucoma therapies, new implantable telescope treatments, new laser technology for performing cataract surgery, corneal inlays for treating presbyopia and new anti- VEGF treatments for AMD. Once new technologies are approved by Optegra’s Medical Director, Medical Advisory Committees and Optegra’s Managing Director, Optegra Eye Sciences works with surgeons and suppliers to develop the Optegra patient pathway and with Optegra’s marketing department in developing materials and communications for patients and professional partners.


A new treatment for wet AMD has been licensed for use in the UK. EYLEA® (aflibercept) injections work in a similar way to treatment with Lucentis. Studies suggest that intravitreal aflibercept given every 2 months (after 3 initial monthly doses, and for at least the first year) has similar efficacy / safety to monthly Lucentis injections for patients with wet AMD. It reduces the requirement for monthly follow-up visits (there is no requirement for monthly monitoring) and it is FDA-approved. It has been approved by NICE.

Reference: Heier JS et al.  Intravitreal aflibercept (VEGF Trap-Eye) in wet age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology 2012 119 2537-2548


The IMT or ‘implantable miniature telescope’ is now available at Optegra.  This is the only FDA-approved ophthalmic telescope implant as a management option for end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This treatment has been shown in clinical trials to improve quality of life for those with central vision loss in both eyes.

Reference: Hudson HL et al.  Implantable Miniature Telescope for the treatment of visual acuity loss resulting from end-stage age-related macular degeneration: 1-Year results. Ophthalmology 2006 113 1987-2001

Surgeons Mr Andrew Luff and Mr Brendan Moriarty will initially offer this new treatment at Optegra Surrey Eye Hospital, Optegra Solent Eye Hospital and Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital.

Reference: Moriarty BJ.  Intraocular telescopes for macular degeneration. Optom Today 2011 25 March 43-46

Research and development collaborations

Optegra and Aston University Research Meeting

A productive and novel research workshop session was held recently at Aston University to facilitate research collaborations between Optegra and academia.

The aim of the day was to showcase Aston University’s research capabilities and to identify opportunities for collaborations between researchers at Aston University, Optegra and Telehealth Solutions (THSL). The day was very well attended with over 30 academics, postgraduate students and post-docs as well as representatives from Optegra and THSL taking part.

Professor Helen Griffiths (Executive Dean, School of Life & Health Sciences) opened the day which started with presentations from Optegra’s Managing Director, Gareth Steer, Optegra’s Head of Eye Sciences Dr Clare O’Donnell, and Donal Markey, Clinical Director from THSL.

Professor James Wolffsohn then kicked off a ‘rapid fire’ session of short presentations with the general theme of eyes, brains and e-healthcare research.  Professor Wolffsohn talked about a VisionCare Research/Aston University/Optegra partnership being able to offer a complete clinical trial solution for ophthalmology research, including intraocular lens technology.  Dr Nichola Logan then gave an overview of her group’s novel research into myopia development in children encompassing MRI technology.  Dr Leon Davis gave an update on his innovative work into presbyopia.  Professor Brian Tighe’s presentation was an informative and entertaining summary of his group’s work on corneal biomarkers.  Measurement of certain proteins in the tear film can be used to monitor corneal wound healing after ocular surgery.  Dr Frank Eperjesi discussed his varied research interests encompassing nutrition, macular pigment, tear film and ocular aberrations.  Dr Doina Gherghel gave a fascinating overview of using ocular metrics to understand cardiovascular disease.

Dr Kate Sugden from Aston’s Institute of Photonic Technologies presented her work relating to understanding issues relating to OCT technology, which is increasingly being used in ophthalmology.

In E-healthcare Dr Xiaohong Peng discussed wireless sensor networks for smart monitoring.  The session then moved onto Neuroscience and Professor Paul Furlong described research activities at the Aston Brain Centre, a world leading centre of excellence for the study of brain development and imaging.  Professor Furlong discussed several projects including Alzheimer’s disease and how the disease could now be detected at an earlier stage. Professor Stefano Seri presented FMRI research to map changes in neural processing with age. Dr Stephen Hall discussed research of new approaches to look at drug actions using biomarkers. Professor Helen Griffiths then rounded off the session with a presentation on aspects of her research relating to statins, cholesterol and the blood/brain barrier.

The session was followed by a poster session and networking lunch where researchers and representatives from Optegra and THSL were able to discuss opportunities for future collaborations and next steps.

Collaborations with surgeons, suppliers and optometrists

Recent presentations  by Optegra colleagues at Scientific Congresses include:

  • Hartwig A., Davey C., Dermott J., Gore C., Mahmood S., Nguyen D., Quah S., Rehman S., Stiene M. & O’Donnel C., Evaluation of an intraoperative guidance system to align monofocal toric intraocular lenses. UKISCRS, 2014, London, UK
  • Rehman S., Hartwig A., Davey C., Dermott J. & O’Donnell C. Clinical performance of a trifocal and a rotationally asymmetric multifocal intraocular lens. European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 2014, London, UK
  • Hartwig A., O’Donnell C. & Radhakrishnan H., Pre-operative biometry in a large population of patients undergoing cataract surgery. Visual and Physiological Optics, 2014, Wroclaw, Poland
  • Hartwig A., O’Donnell C., Ball J., Dermott J. & Rehman S., Clinical outcomes with bilateral trifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) versus contralateral combinations of low and high add rotationally asymmetric IOLs. Aegean Cornea, 2014, Santorini, Greece
  • Hartwig A., O’Donnell C., Dermott J. & Ball J., Clinical performance of a new multifocal intraocular lens with rotationally asymmetric design. Aegean Cornea, 2014, Santorini, Greece
  • Hartwig A., Radhakrishnan H., O’Donnell C. & Rehman S., Review of refractive lens exchange options to correct presbyopia. 2nd Optometry Conference of Central and South-Eastern Europe, 2014, Rovinj, Croatia
  • Hartwig A., Radhakrishnan H., Morris R., Dermott J. & O’Donnell C. Is there a link between age and deviation from predicted post-operative refraction (PPOR) after intraocular lens (IOL) implantation? ARVO, 2014, Orlando, USA
  • Morris R, A Hartwig, Dermott J, Bowen-Thomas O, Walsh R, O’Donnell C. Clinical performance of a multifocal intraocular lens (+1.50D addition) with a rotationally asymmetric design. ESCRS Congress, Amsterdam, 2013
  • Morris R, Clinical performance of a multifocal intraocular lens with a rotationally asymmetric design and +2.00 addition. ESCRS Congress, Amsterdam, 2013
  • Wevill M, Dermott J Outcomes of the treatment of presbyopia using a new corneal inlay, Podium presentation, Scientific section, 28th Congress of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Hyderabad, India 17 January 2013

Publications in learned journals

These are some examples of recent publications (2012-present) co-authored by Optegra colleagues:

  • O’Donnell C, Hartwig A, Subramaniam S, Dermott J, Wolffsohn J, Radhakrishnan H,. Management of Astigmatism During Intraocular Lens Surgery. Optom Pract.2015 in press
  • Jinabhai A, O’Donnell C, Tromans C and Radhakrishnan H. Optical Quality And Visual Performance With Customised Soft Contact Lenses For Keratoconus. Ophthal Physiol Opt 2014 Sep;34(5):528-39
  • Hartwig A, Kheterpal S, Dermott J, O’Donnell C. Laser assisted cataract surgery. Optom Pract 2014 15 2 49 ndash; 56
  • Beshtawi I, Akhtar R, Hillarby C, O’Donnell C, Zhao X, Brahma A, Carley F, Derby B, and Radhakrishnan H. Biomechanical properties of human corneas following low- and high-intensity collagen cross-linking determined with scanning acoustic microscopy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013 54 8 5273-80
  • Beshtawi I, Akhtar R, Hillarby C, O’Donnell C, Brahma A, Derby B, Radhakrishnan H. Scanning Acoustic Microscopy For Mapping The Micro-Elastic Properties Of Human Corneal Tissue. 2013 Curr Eye Res. 38  437-44
  • Beshtawi I, O’Donnell C, Radhakrishnan H. Biomechanical Properties of Corneal Tissue after UV-A/Riboflavin Cross-Linking: Review J Cat Refract Surg 2013 39 451-62
  • Hartwig A, Atchison DA & Radhakrishnan H. Higher-order aberrations and anisometropia. Curr Eye Res 2013, 38 (1): 215-219
  • Huntjens B, Charman WN, Workmann H, Hosking SL, O’Donnell C. Diurnal Fluctuations In Blood Glucose Concentration, Anterior Ocular Structures And Refractive Error In Diabetic And Healthy Human Subjects. Intended journal. PLoS One. 2012;7 (12): e52947
  • Stainer L. Understanding Macular Degeneration. Dispensing Optics. April 2014: p4-8.
  • Hanratty M. Punctum plugs. When and how to fit. Optician. April 2014
  • Beshtawi IM, Akhtar R, Hillarby MC, O’Donnell C, Zhao X, Brahma A, Carley F, Derby B, Radhakrishnan H. Biomechanical changes after repeated collagen cross-linking on human corneas assessed in vitro using scanning acoustic microscopy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 55(3): 1549-54
  • Hartwig A, Atchison DA & Radhakrishnan H. Higher-order aberrations and anisometropia. Curr Eye Res 2013, 38 (1): 215-219
  • Huntjens B, Charman WN, Workmann H, Hosking SL, O’Donnell C. Diurnal Fluctuations In Blood Glucose Concentration, Anterior Ocular Structures And Refractive Error In Diabetic And Healthy Human Subjects. Intended journal. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e52947
  • Stainer L. Macular Conditions: Part 1. Macular Holes. Optican. 28th February 2014: p22-26
  • Stainer L. Macular Conditions. Dispensing Optics. December 2013: p4-9
  • Bowen-Thomas O, Jeffrey M, O’Donnell C. Refractive lens exchange for high myopia. Case report. Optom Pract. 2013 14 155-60
  • Stainer L. Refractive Surgery Options. Part one. Dispensing Optics in press
  • Stainer L. Refractive Surgery Options. Part two. Dispensing Optics in press
  • Hanratty M. Optometrist shared care in refractive surgery. Optom Pract in press
  • Hanratty M. Monitoring dry AMD, Optician Jan 25 2013 pp 20-22
  • Chiam P, O’Donnell C, Au L, Quah SA. Sulcus-fixated intraocular implant for refractive enhancement in pseudophakic patients: two case reports. Optom Pract 20113 3 123-125
  • Jinabhai A, Charman WN, O’Donnell C, Radhakrishnan H. Optical quality for keratoconic eyes with conventional RGP lens and simulated, customised contact lens corrections: a comparison. Ophthal Physiol Opt. 2012 32 200-12
  • O’Donnell C. and Efron N. Diabetes and contact lens wear. Clin Exp Optom. 2012 95 328-37
  • Jinabhai A, Radhakrishnan H. Tromans C, O’Donnell C, Visual performance and optical quality with soft lenses in keratoconus patients Ophthal Physiol Opt, 2012 32 100-16
  • Jinabhai A, O’Donnell C, Radhakrishnan H. Changes in Refraction, Ocular Aberrations, and Corneal Structure After Suspending Rigid Gas-Permeable Contact Lens Wear in Keratoconus. Cornea, 2012 31 500
  • O’Donnell C, Hartwig A and Radhakrishnan H. Comparison of Corneal Thickness and Anterior Chamber Depth Measurements using Low Coherence Reflectometry, Scheimpflug Photography, and Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography. Cornea 2012 Feb 23
  • Roper N, Patel S, O’Donnell C. Stroke Signs in the Retina. Optom Pract. 2012 March 01
  • Radhakrishnan H, Miranda M and O’Donnell C. Corneal Biomechanical Properties Measured With Ocular Response Analyser And Their Correlates With Refractive Error. Clin Exp Optom Manuscript. Clin Exp Optom. 2012 Jan;95(1):12-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2011.00696.x
  • Alderson A, Davey C. Alderson A, Davey CJ. Interactive Presentations – Your peers and their decision making. Optometry Today 2013 53:07; April 5
  • Jalil A, Ho WO, Charles S, Dhawahir-Scala F, Patton N. Iatrogenic retinal breaks in 20-G versus 23-G pars plana vitrectomy. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Rauf A, Malik R, Bunce C, Wormald R. The British Asian community eye study: outline of results on the prevalence of eye disease in British Asians with origins from the Indian subcontinent. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb;61(2):53-8
  • Koukkoulli A, Buchan JC, Woon H. The use of Densiron-68™ as a perioperative surgical tool. Int Ophthalmol. 2013 Jan 29. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Ibrahim AA, Carrim ZI, Mahomed I. The penny dropped after the nucleus: phacoemulsification after phakic YAG capsulotomy. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2013 Apr 9. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bruce A, Pacey IE, Bradbury JA, Scally AJ, Barrett BT. Bilateral changes in foveal structure in individuals with amblyopia. Ophthalmology. 2013 Feb;120(2):395-403
  • De Salvo G, Hannan SR, James N, Lotery AJ. Retinal angiomatous proliferation occurring after radiotherapy. Eye (Lond). 2013 Mar;27(3):447-9
  • Levy SL, Salvi SM. Reactivation of Darier’s disease following Azathioprine treatment for thyroid eye disease. Eye (Lond). 2013 Apr;27(4):568-9
  • Rahman R, Murray CD, Stephenson J. Risk factors for iatrogenic retinal breaks induced by separation of posterior hyaloid face during 23-gauge pars plana vitrectomy. Eye (Lond). 2013 Mar 1