UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Our achievements

From bench to bedside - our achievements

Fundamental science

Cell biology

  • Key discoveries about the control of how cells join together
  • Elucidation of mechanisms of how white blood cells get into the eye and the brain (critical to understanding inflammation)
  • Studies of how molecules and organelles move within cells

Developmental biology

  • Critical investigations of development of retinal circulation including parallels with neuronal development
  • Studies of the development of nerve fibres from retina to brain


  • Unparalleled success in gene discovery for inherited eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, macular dystrophies and cataract
  • Mechanisms of mutant gene action in inherited eye disease
  • Genetic basis of colour vision


  • Landmark investigations of the evolutionary significance of how different wavelengths of light are detected
  • Central discoveries demonstrating the importance of feedback in vision
  • Novel ideas as to how evolutionary principles can be brought to our understanding of vision

Clinical Science

Abnormalities of visual perception in CNS disorders

  • Demonstration that visual perception is altered in schizophrenia and autism

Diagnostic imaging

  • Pioneering of autofluorescence imaging of the retina, now used in clinical trials
  • First visualisation of cell death in the living retina


  • Numerous international studies of eye disease and its treatment
  • Involvement in ocular component of large UK surveys of ageing


  • Series of landmark innovations in controlling scarring after glaucoma surgery
  • Optimising of surgical technique for glaucoma surgery
  • Novel tools for assessing progression of disease

Intraocular inflammation

  • Proof of principle use of gene therapy to suppress inflammation
  • Demonstration of efficacy of statins in reducing ocular inflammation

Ocular surface disease   

  • Accredited stem cell transplantation laboratory
  • Demonstration of the role of T cells in allergic eye disease

Retinal degeneration including retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration

  • Proof of principle of restoration of photoreceptor structure and function with gene therapy
  • Proof of principle of use of immortalised human RPE cells for retinal degeneration
  • Elucidation of mechanisms of protein aggregation in retinitis pigmentosa

Retinal detachment

  •  First successful treatment for post-detachment retinal scarring
  •  First experimental model of post-detachment retinal scarring

Visual Rehabilitation

  • Major longitudinal study of the natural adaptation to loss of central vision in age-related macular degeneration
  • Comparative assessment of high-tech electronic low vision devices