A Peek Inside the CHOP Pediatric Ophthalmology Research Core

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A Child's Sight

For years the Division of Ophthalmology at CHOP has conducted ophthalmologic evaluations for a variety of non-ophthalmologic research endeavors. To better meet these needs, in 2013 the Division created the Pediatric Ophthalmology Research Core, to make its research and clinical resources available to the entire CHOP and University of Pennsylvania community. This effort is part of the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) of the CHOP/Penn community and contributes to the expertise available to enrich clinical research and pediatric care. The Vision Core is currently located within the Ophthalmology clinical space, but there are plans to expand as demand grows.

A variety of standardized measures of visual function are available for research projects, including recognition acuity (pre-literate symbols and letters, using the standardized protocols from the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group or the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study), grating acuity using the Teller Acuity Card procedure, and contrast sensitivity testing using the Pelli-Robson chart. Full-field sensitivity threshold testing is also available, as are electroretinography and visual evoked potential testing, both performed using standard, internationally accepted protocols.

Visual fields are assessed using a Humphrey automated fields analyzer or Goldman perimeter. Optical coherence tomography — both slit-lamp-based and transportable instruments for use throughout the institution — is available for precise cross-sectional assessment of ocular structures. Fundus photography and ophthalmic ultrasonography are also available within the Core. Ophthalmic technologists with extensive experience and training perform these specialized testing procedures.

Although only a year old, the Vision Core is already providing support for several research projects at CHOP, including collaborations with investigators from the divisions of Hematology, Neurology, Pulmonology, and Genetics. The Core director is Graham Quinn, MD, MSCE, who provides consultation about the use of Core resources in clinical research. Jessica Barr, COMT, clinic manager, and Karen Karp, BSN, Core research nurse coordinator, oversee use of the Research Core.