UTMB ophthalmology resident presents at global conference

Posted: May 2012

Cynthia Tung, first-year ophthalmology resident, recently shared UTMB's cutting-edge advances in adaptive optics imaging at an international ophthalmology conference in South Korea April 13-16.

Tung represented the UTMB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the 27th annual conference of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, which drew participants from 65 countries to Busan, South Korea.

After having her abstract accepted by the conference committee, she participated in a poster session to present her work, titled, "Non-invasive in vivo imaging of photoreceptor cells at the single-cell level using an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AO-SLO) compared with standard diagnostic methods in retinal disease: a case series."

Tung said that she is interested in studying the photoreceptors of the retina (the organ that acts as camera film in the back of the eye) because some of the most common diseases that cause blindness in the U.S. affect the retina. These include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and macular hole, just to name a few.

UTMB researchers are developing a technology that will give doctors the ability to visualize single cells in the retina at a microscopic level in the living human eye.

Tung said, "This will allow doctors to study retinal disease in great detail, thus creating the potential for earlier diagnosis and treatment, more accurate monitoring of disease progression, and ultimately better treatment outcome."

This technology has been used for decades by astronomers to help them look past hazy atmospheric currents and get a pristine image of the stars.

Tung first studied the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope while in medical school, under Dr. Mina Chung and Dr. David R. Williams at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York. Williams was the first in the world to introduce AO-SLO to the field of medical ophthalmology.

"One of the things that attracted me to UTMB was the encouragement to participate in research and the abundance of opportunities available to work with renowned ophthalmology researchers like Dr. Massoud Motamedi at the UTMB Center for Biomedical Engineering."

Tung said that presenting at the international conference was an eye-opening experience both professionally and personally.

"It was a privilege to represent UTMB overseas and network with well-known ophthalmologists in the international community who had the same research interests that I do. It also broadened my perspective on different diseases and treatments around the world."

She said that it was an enriching cultural experience to learn about Korean history, customs and cuisine.

"I want to thank the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences for this experience, particularly Chairman Dr. Bernard Godley, Director of Research Dr. Massoud Motamedi, Residency Program Director Dr. Misha Syed, and all of the faculty and residents who played an important role in making this trip possible."

"I would particularly like to recognize Dr. Erik van Kuijk and PhD candidate Adam Boretsky, who were the major driving force behind adaptive optics research here at UTMB. Without their dedication this research would not have been possible."

Photos:

View conference adaptive optics presentation.