Ophthalmology Research

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology is making great strides in research and development.UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology is making great strides in research and development, including new ideas and techniques to understand and treat eye disorders in infants, children and adults. Our collaborative efforts with The UPMC Eye Center and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are dedicated to performing high-quality clinical and basic research.

We operate in a research and educational environment that maximizes opportunities to develop future leaders in vision science. We use high-quality equipment and technology and encourage innovative ideas while providing expert professional mentorship. We are committed to conducting research and testing in a manner that respects the dignity of every person.

Children’s Hospital is one of only a few pediatric hospitals in the country to have a full-time ophthalmology research division including dedicated research space, two scientists, clinicians and undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students. Our research efforts are focused mainly on studying the link between the developing brain and eye as it relates to three common eye problems in infants and children: amblyopia (“lazy eye”), nystagmus (“wiggly eyes”) and strabismus (“crossed eyes”).

One main methodology is the design of, participation in, and reporting of randomized, multicenter clinical trials in the treatment of amblyopia as part of the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group supported by The National Eye Institute and coordinated through the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Fla.

Our in-house research, which studies the brain’s control of the ocular motor system, uses sophisticated eye movement electrophysiological techniques. We are one of only a handful of centers in the world using this technology to study the eye movements of infants and children. Analyzing fine eye movements allows us to discover the brain malfunctions causing pediatric eye problems. As a result, of both the multicenter trials and the electrophysiological investigations, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has developed new evidence-based treatments that are changing the way doctors treat amblyopia, strabismus, and nystagmus.

Children’s Hospital is also one of only a few pediatric hospitals in the world with its own, dedicated optical coherence tomography technology, which produces live, microscopic quality, cross-sectional images of the retina and optic nerve using ultrasound light scans. This technology will allow clinicians and scientists to better understand retinal and optic nerve diseases, and how those tissues respond to medical and surgical treatments, as well as assist with discovery of new treatments. With funding from UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh, the National Institutes of Health, The Jaeb Center for Health Research and Fight for Sight, the Department of Ophthalmology continues on its mission to promote excellence in research and to understand and promote treatment of visual system disease in infants and children.