Glaucoma Research Laboratory

Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Jonathan Crowston +61 3 9929 8429 View page

Research Overview

Our recent work conducted in rodents and humans has explored the utility of Retinal Ganglion Cell-derived components of the electroretinogram (ERG) for assessing retinal ganglion cell (RGC) function. (The ERG measures the electrical activity of the retina in response to light stimulation.) Two subcomponents of the full-field ERG - the photopic negative response and the positive scotopic threshold response - are largely derived from RGCs and provide a measure of the cell's function which in turn reflects cell health. We have made substantial progress in improving measurement reproducibility and shown short-term improvement in  RGC function in glaucoma patients 1-month after initiation of treatment and in rodents following an acute IOP injury. Subsequent patch-clamping studies have provided further insights into the structural and functional changes in individual RGCs that accompany loss and recovery of function as determined by the ERG. We hypothesise that short term changes in RGC function (PhNR, and pSTR) will predict longer-term progression rates as determined by standard perimetry and optic nerve and retinal nerve fibre layer imaging (the current standards that require at least 2-years to detect change).

We are currently conducting a longitudinal cohort study to determine whether short-term ERG changes accurately predict rates of glaucoma progression in the longer term. Second, we will use hyperspectral imaging to analyse changes in the spectral characteristics of reflected light from the RGC layer that are associated with loss or gain of the ERG signals and thus inform on the state of RGC health. The overall goal is to define structural and functional markers of RGC health that accurately distinguish fast and slow progressors in the longer term.


Dr Vicki Chrysostomou - Glaucoma Research Fellow
Dr Xavier Hadoux - Glaucoma Research Fellow
Dr Zhichao Wu - Glaucoma Research Fellow
Flora Hui - Glaucoma Research Fellow
Dr Marc Sarossy - Senior Research Fellow
Jess Tang - MPhil Student


Prof Franz Grus -  Department of Ophthalmology, University of Mainz, Germany
Dr Nick Marsh - ArmstrongJohn Hopkins University, USA
Dr Gregory Steinberg -  McMaster University, Ontario, Canada
Prof Robert Casson - South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology Adelaide
Prof Steve Petrou -Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Assoc Prof Ian Trounce - Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne
Dr Peter van Wijngaarden- Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne


National Health & Medical Research Council
Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia
BrightFocus Foundation
Connie and Craig Kimberley
The Miller Foundation Ltd

Research Publications

Aung T, Ozaki M, Mizoguchi T et al. A common variant mapping to CACNA1A is associated with susceptibility to exfoliation syndrome Nature Genetics. 2015; 47(4):387-92. Describes a new genetic locus for pseudoexfoliation glaucoma.

Chrysostomou V, Kezic JM, Trounce IA, Crowston JG. Forced exercise protects the aged optic nerve against intraocular pressure injury. Neurobiol Aging. 2014; 35(7):1722-5. First evidence for exercise improving retinal recovery after injury and reversing the negative impact of ageing.

Lee S, Sheck L, Crowston JG, Van Bergen NJ, O'Neill EC, O'Hare F, Kong YX, Chrysostomou V, Vincent AL, Trounce IA. Impaired complex-I-linked respiration and ATP synthesis in primary open-angle glaucoma patient lymphoblasts. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012; 53(4):2431-7. The first description of an OXPHOS complex-1 defect in a cohort of open angle glaucoma patients.

Kong YX, Van Bergen N, Trounce IA, Bui BV, Chrysostomou V, Waugh H, Vingrys A, Crowston JG. Increase in mitochondrial DNA mutations impairs retinal function and renders the retina vulnerable to injury. Aging Cell. 2011; 10(4):572-83. First manuscript to demonstrate that mitochondrial impairment impaired recovery following injury induced by eye pressure.

Kong YX, van Bergen N, Bui BV, Chrysostomou V, Vingrys AJ, Trounce IA, Crowston JG. Impact of aging and diet restriction on retinal function during and after acute intraocular pressure injury. Neurobiol Aging. 2012; 33(6):1126.e15-25. First manuscript to demonstrate that age-related vulnerability to eye pressure injury can be effectively reversed by diet restriction.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Jonathan Crowston

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Glaucoma Research Laboratory