Monday, February 9,  12:00 – 1:30 pm, in 489 Minor Hall

Graduate Student Seminar

presented by

Eric Li, OD, FAAO, PhD Candidate (Lin Lab)

Understanding Ocular Discomfort and Dryness using the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire

It is often noted in clinical practice, the discrepancy that exists between the signs and symptoms of ocular discomfort. It is a similar question that faced pain researchers, which until recently, has been primarily focused on the cause and treatment of pain, but it had difficulty explaining why patients reported a wide range of pain from the same injury. It was only with the recognition that the cognitive processing of pain is individualized, which has provided an insight into why individuals experience a diverse perception of pain. Research suggests that pain sensitivity is the most important metric in understanding how individuals perceive pain and recent work suggests that it could be measured using the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ). The PSQ has never been validated in ocular research, so we were interested in determining its value in understanding ocular discomfort. Our research suggests that the discrepancy between signs and symptoms may be partially explained by how an individual’s pain sensitivity influences his or her perceptions of ocular discomfort and dryness: a more sensitive patient may report symptoms in the absence of any clinical signs, while a less sensitive patient may suffer little or no discomfort in spite of visible ocular surface pathology.


Taras Litvin, OD, PhD Candidate (Roorda Lab)

Screening for Sight-Threatening Diabetic Macular Edema

Clinically significant macular edema (CSME) results from the microvascular complications of diabetes in the central retina of the eye. Diabetes-induced breakdown of the blood-retina barrier and the compensatory mechanisms leads to the accumulation of fluid in the retinal tissue. When left untreated, CSME can result in vision loss by disrupting normal metabolic processes, ischemia and by mechanical disruption of the intricate structure of the retina. CSME can be successfully treated when detected in time. However, challenges in CSME detection result in a significant number of untreated patients with devastating visual consequences. Tele-medicine screening which relies on evaluation of the digital fundus photos to identify pateints with vision-threatening retinopathy is widely implemented and has good sensitivity and specificity for detection of severe non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy. CSME detection in fundus photos faces substantial challenges. Stereoscopic photos require dilation which increases the risk of vision loss due to angle closure glaucoma and is generally time consuming and incovenient for patients which furhter decreases compliance with screening. Monoscopic images have low sensitivity for CSME detection because of the lack of stereopsis. Programs which use monoscopic images must rely on surrogate markers of CSME. There is currently no consensus on how to detect CSME in monoscopic images.

We aim at improving the accuracy of the screening tests for CSME detection. We are currently working on developing a statistical model to estimate the probability of CSME presence during screening. In this talk I will discuss some of the approaches for CSME screening.


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