Sarah Hosking

veski innovation fellow

Professor Sarah Hosking was awarded a veski innovation fellowship on 16 July 2008. She relocated from the United Kingdom where she held the positions of Professor of Optometry at Aston University in Birmingham and City University, London.

Professor Hosking received funding for a joint research activity based at the Centre for Eye Research Australia [CERA], collaborating with Professor Jonathan Crowston, Head of the Glaucoma Unit and Professor Graeme Jackson at the Brain Research Institute at the Austin Hospital.

Research project title:
Anatomy and function of the visual cortex in human glaucoma

Research project description:
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and results from a number of interacting factors such as increased eye pressure, compromised vascular health, genetic and other factors.

In the USA alone the healthcare costs attributed to the disease amount to US$4bn each year. In Australia there are around 200,000 confirmed glaucoma sufferers, with a further 50% undiagnosed. The direct costs of care are AU$850m per year, with a further $1bn to support quality of life.

Currently, the diagnostic process involves measurements of the eye’s own pressure, subjective measures of the visual field, evaluation of the appearance of the optic nerve as seen by observation of the internal eye structures, and consideration of a number of other factors such as patient age, vascular health, family history of disease, race and so on.

Particular difficulties in predicting the onset or progression of glaucoma arise since the clinical indicators of intraocular pressure and anatomical structure overlap substantially from healthy to glaucomatous eyes, and the subjective assessment of visual field loss is somewhat variable and insensitive to early damage or change.

In this research, anatomical investigations using diagnostic imaging methods will be used to establish the anatomical changes in the brain following the onset of glaucoma and the impact of treatment. The findings of these studies are of importance in tailoring treatments to the needs of individual patients and ultimately, to benefit patients by the preservation of sight, and the community by reducing the financial burden of glaucoma management.

Key facts:

  • Appointed Director of the National Vision Research Institute of Australia [NVRI] on 1 March 2010
  • Outstanding researcher of international reputation and an advisor to The College of Optometrists Fellowship in Glaucoma and an Expert Witness for the General Optical Council

“Ultimately, the main objective of this research is to reduce the financial burden on the community”

Sarah Hosking