Casey Innovations - Advancing surgery in gene therapy

Casey Innovations 2019 Advancing surgery article gene therapy image

Children born with inherited retinal dystrophies typically face a lifetime of diminishing vision and eventual blindness. But a new gene therapy - the first FDA-approved treatment for a genetic disorder - is revolutionizing our ability to preserve eyesight and improve quality of life in those affected. OHSU Casey Eye Institute was one of the first institutions in the U.S. to administer this sight-saving treatment, an accomplishment made possible because of its longstanding expertise in the field of ophthalmic genetics. Learn more.

Casey Innovations - Data-driven medicine and informatics

Casey Innovations 2019 Data-driven medicine article retina overlay image
21st century technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and OHSU Casey Eye Institute has emerged as a leader in the invention of AI, telemedicine and data analytics and their integration into ophthalmology. Read more. 

Casey Innovations - Inside the lab with OCTA

Casey Innovations 2019 Inside the Lab article OCTA image
OHSU Casey Eye Institute is a pioneer in the development of non-invasive imaging technology that offers unprecedented views of the inner eye and the ability to diagnose and manage eye disease in its earliest stages. Learn more.

OHSU Casey Eye Institute faculty member leads Vision 2020 U.S.A in call to action

Mitchell V. Brinks, M.D., M.P.H.

OHSU Casey Eye Institute is among the 27 member organizations of Vision 2020/ USA formally asking U. S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams to initiate a national "Call to Action" for vision and eye health to mark the year 2020. Read more.

Casey among the first to treat patients with gene therapy

Luxturna exam patient

Casey is treating patients with Luxturna--the first gene therapy treatment for inherited disease caused by a single gene to come on the U.S. market. Gene therapy is a potentially transformative treatment which will have lifelong effects for children at risk of going blind from inherited retinal eye disorder. This new medical advance will have a major impact on their quality of life. 

Learn more about 4-year old Caspian, one of the first to benefit from this groundbreaking treatment.  

Early research point to link between AMD and gut

 Findings from a pilot study at Casey Eye Institute suggest a possible connection between advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and alterations in the gut microbiome, the community of bacteria and other microscopic organisms that live in our intestinal tract. Phoebe Lin, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist specializing in retinal and inflammatory eye disease, compared the microbiome of study patients with advanced AMD to healthy controls without the disease. She and her team found differences between the two groups, with AMD patients having increased amounts of several strains for intestinal bacteria and less of others that healthy participants. 

The researchers also noted changes in the intestinal bacteria in study patients taking AREDS2 eye supplements and in those with a certain gene mutation associated with AMD. "These alterations in the intestinal tract may explain why individuals develop advanced AMD," said Dr. Lin, explaining that it may affect "some biochemical pathways known to be involved in the disease, such as the immune system."

Dr. Lin said she plans to continue her investigations using newer methods of analysis and conducting more in-depth and longitudinal clinical studies. "While this early research is promising, more work needs is needed to learn how the gut microbiome and other factors may trigger this disease."

Casey scientists tackle challenges of stem cell therapy for AMD

When it comes to experimental treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), stem cell transplantation continues to generate great interest. Patients are especially curious about its potential to restore vision lost to the advanced dry form of the disease, which currently is untreatable.

Although Casey Eye Institute researchers are not yet testing stem cell therapy in humans, they are collaborating with scientists at the National Eye Institute, biotechnology companies and other academic institutions to transform laboratory discoveries into new treatments. Read more. 

Visit by Buddhist high monk celebrates partnership between Casey Eye Institute and Myanmar eye hospital 

OHSU kicked off its global health collaboration in Myanmar with a special visit in July by the Buddhist High Monk of Myanmar. The event, which took place at Casey Eye Institute, featured a symbolic signing of a memorandum of understanding –or MOU –to honor the growing relationship between OHSU and the Tipitaka Eye Hospital in Myanmar. The signing ceremony was preceded by remarks from OHSU and Casey leaders, the Buddhist High Monk and other special guests from the Myanmar and Portland Buddhist communities. 

A Sayadaw, or high monk, is a prestigious designation for those who have passed the highest possible exam for monks. 
Under the stewardship of Myanmar's Sayadaw, the monk-led hospital has built a highly respected program that provides free eye care to tens of thousands of children and adults throughout Myanmar. Its services are helping alleviate the country's high rate of avoidable blindness caused by decades of political and economic isolation and poverty. 

"Although there are talented eye care providers in Myanmar, there are too few ophthalmologists and subspecialty eye care is severely lacking," said Mitchell Brinks, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology, OHSU School of Medicine and director of Casey's International Ophthalmology Program. 

Casey faculty and staff are partnering with Tipitaka Eye Hospital to build programs that will have long-term benefits for both the people of Myanmar and Oregon. Priorities include training mid-level health care personnel, instituting a pediatric vision screening program and developing a health record database. 

"OHSU and Casey will benefit equally, if not more than Tipitaka in this collaboration," noted Casey director David Wilson, M.D., in his remarks at the ceremony. "The larger population in Myanmar, which has more severe, yet treatable eye disease, will teach all of us about which type of systems are effective," said Wilson, who is professor and Thiele-Petti Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, at the OHSU School of Medicine. "We look forward to applying that knowledge to our own vision care in Oregon." 

The monk's visit dovetailed with Casey's biennial International and Community Ophthalmology conference, which was attended by more than 100 public health experts from the U.S. and other countries.  

Learn more about Casey's outreach program in Southeast Asia. 

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InSight newsletter Spring 2017

The Macular Degeneration Center at Casey Eye Institute, OHSU, publishes InSight, a newsletter about new developments in treating and living with this condition. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States.

Download the latest Macular Degeneration Center newsletter

How OHSU physicians teamed up to diagnose and treat a teen with a brain tumor

In the fall of 2013, 15-year-old Tigard High School sophomore Brandt Goetz suffered an apparent concussion during a youth tackle football game. A few weeks later, when he began suffering from headaches and blurred vision, his parents were convinced that something else was going on. Brandt's mother, Michelle Goetz, took him to see an eye doctor who then referred them to OHSU's Casey Eye Institute.

A week later, on a Friday, Brandt's father, Jason Goetz, took his son to Oregon Health & Science University's Department of Sports Medicine where he was evaluated for a standard concussion.  That same day, the teen was examined by neuro-ophthalmologist Julie Falardeau, M.D., who evaluates the visual signs and symptoms of complex neurological problems. After thoroughly reviewing Brandt's medical history, she noticed swelling in the optic nerves of both of his eyes.  She moved quickly to get Brandt in for an MRI that night. By 8 a.m. the next morning, she had discovered what was causing the blurry vision – a large brain tumor on Brandt's left temporal lobe.

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Imaging technology developed at OHSU Casey Eye Institute is game changer for managing leading causes of blindness

Recently, scientists, clinicians and engineers from throughout the world gathered at OHSU Casey Eye Institute for the first-ever international Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Angiography Summit. Participants spent the day sharing their knowledge and discussing applications of a breakthrough imaging technology that is transforming the way we diagnose and care for patients with the most common causes of blindness, namely macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes. OCT angiography is a noninvasive imaging technique proving to be a superior alternative to dye-based methods for visualizing and measuring blood flow in the back of the eye.

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New study compares drug treatments for diabetic eye disease

Andreas Lauer, M.D.For the millions of Americans living with diabetes, one of the most worrisome complications is diabetic macular edema (DME), a type of eye problem that can threaten vision. Regular injections of medications into the eye, as well as laser therapy, are the mainstay treatments. Casey researchers recently completed a study comparing medications used to treat DME.

Read more about the study.


Local teen invents Magniglass for patients with low vision

Teen creates high-tech glasses to help his grandmother
Like most grandparents, Marian Reekie is proud of her grandchildren. But the 81-year old Portland resident has an especially good reason to brag about her 14-year old grandson, Christopher Reekie. Visually impaired from advanced age-related macular degeneration – or AMD - Marian is able to see faces and read print for the first time in years thanks to a pair of video magnification glasses Christopher created on his own.   

Representative Williamson on Vision-Screening

Oregon State Representative, Jennifer Williamson, sponsor of HB 3000, discusses the importance of early vision screening in order to provide all children the opportunity to succeed. 

Casey researchers take new look at glaucoma using advanced imaging technology

A team of researchers at OHSU Casey Eye Institute are opening the curtain on this stealthy disease that can be a challenge to identify and follow over time. Using groundbreaking optical imaging techniques, the scientists are studying the eye's blood flow to improve early detection and better understand how glaucoma develops.

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Early Detection and Managing Disease Key to Healthy Eyes

If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure to include regular comprehensive eye exams to your health care regimen of watching your diet and monitoring your blood sugar. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults in the United States. Diabetic retinopathy, the most common form, affects nearly 29 percent of Americans with diabetes age 40 and older, according to the National Eye Institute. The number of people with diabetic retinopathy is expected to grow from 7 million to 11 million by 2030.

"Vision loss from diabetic retinopathy carries very severe physical, psychological, social and economic consequences on individuals and their communities worldwide," says retina specialist Andreas Lauer, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Casey Eye Institute. Although there have been inroads in research and treatment, the prevalence and impact of diabetic retinopathy is expected to grow as nations become more industrialized and life expectancy increases. "Diabetic retinopathy is poised to be an overwhelming global public health problem," he says.

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Halloween lenses can lead to scary eye problems

Black cape?  Check.  Plastic fangs?  Check.  Scary make-up?  Check.  Contact lenses to make your eyes look blood red?  Unless they've been prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional, leave your novelty lenses at home this Halloween. Casey Eye Institute physicians caution that you could experience your own horror story, namely the risk of permanent vision loss from a painful eye infection or serious injury. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety and effectiveness of contact lenses and considers them a medical device.  Decorative lenses, often sold on the Internet and in beauty salons and novelty shops, are illegal if purchased or sold without a valid prescription from an eye doctor.  In fact, the agency recently launched "Operation Double Vision," a concerted effort to seize unapproved, illegally imported decorative and counterfeit lenses. 

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Student Volunteer Awarded Summer Student Fellowship

The national nonprofit organization Fight for Sight has awarded a 2013 Summer Student Fellowship to OHSU Casey Eye Institute student volunteer, Hope Titus. Her grant, "Natural history assessment of retinitis pigmentosa with Imagine Eyes rtx1™ Adaptive Optics," will establish repeatability measures for single cell cone counting in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). One of the most common forms of inherited retinal degeneration, RP gradually leads to blindness by causing death of rod and cone photoreceptors. 

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Casey Eye Institute and the Oregon State Elks celebrate $25 million raised

Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon State Elks are celebrating a multi-million-dollar milestone this week that has helped treat and prevent eye disease for thousands of children throughout the region.

Since 1949, the Elks Children's Eye Clinic at OHSU's Casey Eye Institute has been dedicated to making children's vision their top priority. This commitment has resulted in more than $25 million and thousands of volunteer hours, bringing sight to children who might not otherwise have experienced this most important sense.

"Over the last 64 years the Elks have played a crucial role in advancing all three of OHSU's missions: teaching, research and patient care, for pediatric eye patients" said David Wilson, M.D., Thiele-Petti Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and director of Casey Eye Institute. "We are incredibly grateful for their sustained, loyal support."

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OHSU Researcher Receives $50,000 Award at Usher Syndrome Family Conference

 Richard Weleber, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at OHSU Casey Eye Institute, was awarded a grant of $50,000 from the Hear See Hope Foundation to further his research of Usher syndrome, an inherited disorder that causes impaired hearing at birth and progressive vision loss. Dr. Weleber, a leading expert in genetic eye diseases, received the award in July at a national meeting in Portland for families affected by this uncommon and devastating condition. 

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Andreas Lauer, M.D., Honored for Achievements in Resident Education

OHSU Casey Eye Institute physician Andreas (Andy) Lauer, M.D., has been named as the recipient of the prestigious Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education for 2013. The annual honor, given by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), is in recognition of Dr. Lauer's outstanding achievements in resident education. 

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A Photographic Journey into Blindness

The current photo exhibit at Casey Eye Institute features parallel works of legally blind, internationally acclaimed fine landscape photographer Gary Albertson, profiled by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Jay Mather. 

Learn more about this exhibit

Lauren's Story

Born with a hearing impairment and facing blindness from Usher syndrome, Conner and his family are actively involved in advancing research to prevent vision loss from this genetic condition. But young Conner is not alone- learn about his best buddy Lauren’s selfless efforts to help her friend and their amazing story of friendship, hope and Casey’s groundbreaking work to treat this rare, inherited disease.

View this video

Casey Begins First Gene Therapy Study For Usher Syndrome

Michelle Kopf is the first patient to participate in a two-year study that was designed to halt vision loss in people with genes linked to Usher syndrome.

Read more about Michelle's story

LCA Gene Discovery

For nearly three years, Troy and Jennifer Stevens struggled to learn the identity of the gene responsible for their son Gavin's blindness. With the help of Casey genetic expert John Chiang, PhD, they were able to expand their understanding, while discovering a new gene in the process.

Read more about Gavin's story