UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Be inspired at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Some highlights from activities, lectures and initiatives at our institute, pioneering science and attracting researchers of the highest international calibre.


IoO Annual Lecture 2023

Professor Krzysztof (Kris) Palczewski from the University of California delivered our annual lecture this year.

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Lister Fellowship Lecture with Dr Anthony Khawaja

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Discover what our research themes are about. 

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Listen to our institute's entrepreneurs

A chat with Julie Daniels, Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy

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A chat with Pete Coffey, Professor of Visual Psychophysics

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A chat with Stephen Moss, Ashton Professor of Biomedical Research

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scientist working in one of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology labs

Science at our institute

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


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