The Division of Ophthalmic Epidemiology was founded in 2014 under the direction of Anne Lynch MD, MSPH, who also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Lynch has created research programs in many areas including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), uveitis, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. Her team includes an epidemiologist, Jennifer Patnaik PhD, a statistician, Brandie Wagner PhD, and study coordinators.
The AMD registry was started in 2014. Patients with AMD attending the retina clinic at the Sue-Anschutz Rodgers Eye Center are invited to be part of the registry. Over 1,800 AMD patients and controls have joined the registry. The medical and ocular history are collected on every patient. In addition, images of the eye are reviewed, and a blood sample is collected for measurement of systemic biomarkers from each patient. Several publications on the epidemiology of AMD, the complement system, proteomics, inflammation, and imaging, have resulted from the AMD registry. Moreover, the research has been presented at many international and national meetings. In addition to Dr. Lynch’s group, lead AMD registry investigators include Naresh Mandava MD, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Alan Palestine MD, Talisa de Carlo Forest MD, and Marc Mathias MD.
In April 2021, Dr. Lynch and her research group received an R01 award entitled “Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation in Intermediate AMD” from the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As part of the grant, the research team will address if there are inflammatory systemic biomarkers that distinguish patients who progress from intermediate AMD to the advanced forms of AMD. Patients are being actively recruited from the retina clinic into this study. In 2021, recruitment was opened up to patients with AMD who receive their eye care outside of the eye center who would like to participate in the study. Interested patients complete a research visit with one of the research team. Regular eye care continues with the outside provider. More details can be found here.
In the summer of 2021, Dr. Patnaik received an award from Research to Prevent Blindness and also received the honorable Phillip Ellis research award that supports her research activity within the department.
In addition to AMD, the division is also home to a successful Colorado Retinopathy of Prematurity (CO-ROP) registry with data from over 3,000 preterm infants screened for ROP included in the registry. Databases in cataract outcomes, glaucoma, uveitis, and outcomes from retina surgery have also been developed in the Division. Many publications and presentations have resulted from research on these databases by faculty inspired research hypotheses.
The Division has a strong mentoring program and supports research by faculty, fellows, residents, graduate students, and medical students. In 2021, the Division welcomed the first Ophthalmology research fellow, into a year-long fellowship prior to residency. To date, research has been presented at over 200 national and local ophthalmology meetings with over 100 manuscripts published in peer reviewed journals. Importantly, a strong group of mentees are being encourages to pursue research in Ophthalmology.
Funding to the Division: National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01EY032456 (AML), a Research to Prevent Blindness grant to the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, the Frederic C. Hamilton Macular Degeneration Center, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center Research Fund, Greenwald family research fund, and by NIH/NCATS Colorado CTSA Grant Number UL1 TR002535. We have also received grants from Research to Prevent Blindness, faculty funding awards and are previous recipients of a grant from the Macula Society.
Anne Lynch MD, MSPH
Professor and Director
Division of Ophthalmic Epidemiology
Jennifer Patnaik PhD
Brandie Wagner PhD
Division of Ophthalmic Epidemiology team
(Back row, left to right): Anne Lynch, MD, MSPH, Nathan Grove, Emily Auer, Sophie Smith, Mackenzie Campbell, MS, Brandie Wagner, PhD.
(Front row, left to right): Jennifer Patnaik, PhD, Vivian Rajeswaren, Arden MacReynolds, Grace Skinner, Ramya Gnanaraj, MD.