Seeing glycaemia through the cornea – the impact of diabetes on the ocular surface
Date: Tuesday August 13
Time: 6:00 pm for 7pm start
- St Andrew’s Conservatory. 128 Nicholson St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
See Programme here
Alexis Ceecee Zhang
B.Optom (Hons), TPA
Ceecee is a therapeutically endorsed optometrist and PhD candidate at the University ofMelbourne, with interests in ocular surface, contact lenses and diabetes. Ceecee graduatedfrom the University of Auckland in 2015 with first class honours and a University of AucklandDean’s medal. She is currently undertaking a PhD in the Anterior eye, clinical trials andresearch translation unit at the University of Melbourne, under the primary supervision ofDr Laura Downie and co-supervised by A/Prof Jennifer Craig, University of Auckland.Ceecee has undertaken clinical experience in Australia, New Zealand and in Fiji, at thePacific Eye Institute as a part of her externship supported by the Fred Hollows Foundation.She is a past president of the New Zealand Optometry Students Society. Ceecee has been apre-clinical demonstrator at both the University of Auckland and the University ofMelbourne, and is currently a head demonstrator for Doctor of Optometry program at theUniversity of Melbourne. Ceecee currently practices at the Australian College of Optometryand is a clinical supervisor for final year optometry students.A major component of Ceecee’s doctoral research project is a multi-disciplinary randomized clinical trial, in collaboration with medical specialists at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. She is working closely with endocrinologists and neurologists to examine changes in the ocular surface in diabetes and small fibre neuropathy. Ceecee recently presented some of her PhD findings, entitled ‘Corneal sensitivity changes precede symptoms of peripheral neuropathy’ at the largest vision science conference worldwide, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting in Vancouver, BC in April 2019; this conference is attended by >12,000 international researchers and clinicians.
Diabetes mellitus affects approximately 1.2 million adults in Australia. It is well established that the microvascular complications of diabetes can affect the eye, and can have a detrimental impact on vision if not appropriately managed. While diabetic retinopathy is typically monitored by eyecare professionals, fewer clinical guidelines describe the need to monitor corneal changes in diabetes. Clinical management of people with diabetes should consider the impact of hyperglycaemia on the ocular surface, particular for individuals where corneal integrity is paramount, such as in contact lens wear. Furthermore, the cornea is the only location in the body where peripheral nerves can be non-invasively imaged in- vivo. Changes to corneal nerve integrity are known to be predictive of diabetic neuropathy, which is a complication that can lead to debilitating pain, foot ulceration, and amputation. This presentation will summarise recent scientific evidence relating to using the cornea as a surrogate marker for diabetic nerve damage, and outline a best practice clinical approach for managing ocular surface disease in individuals with diabetes mellitus.
- Recognise the effects of, and methods for managing hyperglycaemia on the ocular surface
- Outline the role of corneal nerves as a surrogate marker for diabetic neuropathy
- Understand the biological effects of omega-3 essential fatty acids and its potential role in neuroprotection
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CCLSA VIC State President