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Visual Neurosciences

The Visual Neurosciences Research Group is interested in the neurobiological interactions between the eyes and the brain and aims to translate fundamental scientific knowledge into clinical settings. More specifically, our group is investigating the visual, and non-visual behavioral and physiological consequences of clinical conditions affecting the retina and the optic nerves, including glaucoma, as well as other inflammatory, compressive, hereditary optic neuropathies.. Through our collaboration with the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders group at Duke-NUS, we also aim to study the non-visual cerebral responses originating from the eye, using modern techniques in a sleep-lab, as well as functional neuro-imaging.

  1. Dysfunction of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in ophthalmic conditions. Our initial pupilometric studies (Rukmini et al, Ophthalmology, 2015) have shown dysfunction in the melanopsin expressing retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) system in primary open angle glaucoma, and significant correlations with the severity of the disease. In collaboration with the Glaucoma group (Prof Tin Aung, A/Prof Baskaran Mani, A/Prof Shamira Perer) we are currently evaluating the efficiency of chromatic pupillometry with a novel photic stimulation paradigm (implemented with A/Prof J Gooley, Duke-NUS), for detecting early and pre-perimetric glaucoma. We also aim to assess the functions of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in other neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions, affecting the visual pathways and the central nervous system.

  2. Retinal Neurobiology of Myopia. We are currently exploring (in collaboration with Prof Wallace Foulds, A/Prof Veluchamy Amutha Barathi, A/Prof Rajamani Lakshminarayanan and Dr Ouria Dkhissi Benyahya (INSERM Unit 846, France)), the impacts of dopamine and different light exposures stimulating different photoreceptors on the progression and devolvement of acquired myopia, in different animal models.

  3. Cerebral Projections of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, explored with functional MRI. Collaborative work with A/Prof Brown Hsieh (Duke-NUS) and Prof Francoise Vienot (CNRS and Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, France).

  4. Hereditary optic neuropathies. Our group has recently identified patients with genetically confirmed Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy in Singapore, a condition which is only rarely reported in South-East Asia. Collaborations with a group of geneticists in Angers, France, have allowed identification of novel genetic mutations in the OPA1 gene, responsible not only for visual loss due to optic atrophy, but also deafness. Various other mitochondrial genetic mutations affecting the optic nerves are explored through collaborations with a team of geneticists in Angers, France, lead by Prof Reynier and Prof Procaccio.

  5. Ocular motor dysfunctions associated with conditions of the afferent pathways. Evaluation of the patterns and consequences of disrupted ocular motor behaviour, studied with infrared oculography, associated with various retinopathies and optic neuropathies.

  1. Annweiler C, Milea D, Whitson HW, Cheng CY, Wong TY, Ikram K, Lamoureux EL, Sabanayagam C. Vitamin D insufficiency and cognitive impairment in Asians: a multi-ethnic population-based study and meta-analysis. Journal of Internal Medicine, 2016, in press.

  2. Najjar RP and Zeitzer JM. Temporal integration of light flashes by the human circadian system. Journal of Clinical Investigations, 2016, in press.

  3. Rukmini AV, Milea D, Baskaran M, How AC, Perera SA, Aung T, Gooley JJ. Pupillary Responses to High-Irradiance Blue Light Correlate with Glaucoma Severity. Ophthalmology. 2015;122(9):1777-85.

  4. Milea D, Aung T. Flavonoids and glaucoma: revisiting therapies from the past. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015;253(11):1839-40.

  5. Uro M, Beauchet O, Cherif M, Graffe A, Milea D, Annweiler C. Age-Related Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Reduced Macular Ganglion Cell Complex: A Cross-Sectional High-Definition Optical Coherence Tomography Study. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 19;10(6):e0130879.

  6. Nissen C, Rönnbäck C, Sander B, Herbst K, Milea D, Larsen M, Lund-Andersen H. Dissociation of Pupillary Post-Illumination Responses from Visual Function in Confirmed OPA1 c.983A > G and c.2708_2711delTTAG Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy. Front Neurol. 2015 Feb 4.

  7. Ebran JM, Milea D, Trelohan A, Bonicel P, Hamel JF, Leftheriotis G, Martin L. New insights into the visual prognosis of pseuoxanthoma elasticum. Br J Ophthalmol , 2014.

  8. Najjar RP, Wolf L, Taillard J, Schlangen LJM, Salam A, Cajochen C, Gronfier C. (2014) Chronic Artificial Blue-Enriched White Light Is an Effective Countermeasure to Delayed Circadian Phase and Neurobehavioral Decrements. PLoS ONE 9: e102827. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102827.

  9. Ronnbaeck C, Milea D, Larsen M. Imaging of the macula indicates early completion of structural deficit in autosomal-dominant optic atrophy. Ophthalmology, 2013 Dec;120(12):2672-7.

  10. Herbst K, Sander B, Lund-Andersen H, Wegener M, Hannibal J, Milea D. Unilateral anterior ischemic optic neuropathy: chromatic pupillometry in affected, fellow non-affected and healthy control eyes. Front Neurol. 2013 May 10.

  11. Lebranchu P, LeMeur G, Magot A, David A, Verny C, Weber M, Milea D. Maculopathy and Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type I: a new association ? J Neuro-Ophthalmol, 2013, Apr 11.

  12. Leruez S, Milea D, Defoort-Dhellemmes S, Colin E, Crochet M, Procaccio V, Ferre M, Lamblin J, Drouin J, Vincent-Delorme C, Lenaers G, Blanchet C, Juul G, Larsen M, Verny C, Reynier P, Amati-Bonneau P, Bonneau D. Sensorineural hearing loss in OPA1-linked disorders. Brain, 2013, Feb 13.

  13. Lenaers G, Hamel G, Delettre C, Amati-Bonneau P, Procaccio V, Bonneau D, Reynier P, Milea D. Dominant Optic atrophy. Orphanet J Rare Dis, 2013 Mar;36(3):e49-53.

  14. Graffe A, Annweiler C, Mauget-Faysse M, Beauchet O, Milea D. Association between hypovitaminosis D and late stages of age-related macular degeneration: a case-control study. J Am Geriatr Soc, 2012, Jul;60(7):1367-9.

  15. Lamirel C, Milea D, Cochereau I, Duong MH, Lorenceau J. Impaired saccadic eye movements in primary open-angle glaucoma. J Glaucoma 2012, June 14.

  16. Skau M, Yri H, Sander B, Gerds TA, Milea D, Jensen R. Diagnostic value of optical coherence tomography for intracranial pressure in idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2012 May 18.

From left to right, collaborators and group’s members:
E Atalay, S Sharma, AV Rukmini, RP Najjar, D Milea, JJ Gooley, B Mani, ZL Jing




Head: Prof Dan Milea, MD, PhD
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Members of the group:
Dan Milea, MD, PhD – Head
Raymond P. Najjar, PhD – Senior Research Fellow
Sourabh Sharma, MD – Clinical Research Fellow
Janie Tay – Clinical Research Coordinator