The Retina as a Window on the Body

Published on 19 April 2019

The VAMPIRE (Vascular Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) research programme is developing image analysing software applications which can assist with prediction of serious health conditions

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"It’s becoming increasingly likely that there’s a link between what happens to the blood vessels in the back of the eye and what happens to other small blood vessels around the body," said Professor Emanuele Trucco of the University of Dundee, who started VAMPIRE with Dr Tom MacGillivray of the University of Edinburgh in 2002.

VAMPIRE is an internationally collaborative research initiative and the programme’s laboratories at the University of Dundee and the University of Edinburgh work closely with clinical research centres and ophthalmologists in Asia, America, Australia and Europe. "We’re currently involved in a £7 million NIHR Global Health Programme with India, driven by the research group on genetics of diabetes in our hospital," continued Professor Trucco. "This includes a VAMPIRE work package studying the connection between changes in the retina, diabetes and patient stratification."

"To date, one of our major discoveries is the link between the tiny blood vessels in the retina and the gene associated with brain and cardiovascular conditions."

"As our research in assessing and measuring images of the retina progresses, as well as helping with early diagnosis, it will also help to highlight any risk of possible development of certain health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke and dementia."

“By measuring and analysing images of the retina, we’ve accumulated considerable, independently-validated evidence that connects changes in retinal blood with certain diseases.”

Professor Emanuele Trucco


Press Office, University of Dundee

Story category Research