Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the Eye Institute

Ongoing Study - Not Currently Enrolling

Biomarkers for Eye Diseases

Purpose of study:

The purpose of this study is to find out the step-by-step process that causes someone to get eye diseases that affect the retina (the thin, light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye). Our research involves studying genes and immune system responses in participants who have and do not have eye disease(s). We are looking for participants who have had Type 1 diabetes for 15 years or longer with and without diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

People with diabetes experience eye problems often in the retina. The retina is the thin tissue at the back of the eye that contains light-sensitive cells that allow you to see. Abnormal blood vessels develop and leakage from such vessels causes swelling of the retina, leading to a serious vision loss.

What is involved?

The study is a one time visit to the Eye Institute. You will be asked to complete a survey, get your blood drawn and have non-invasive eye imaging (fundus photography). The collected blood will be analyzed for the immune responses and fundus photography will be evaluated for the presence or absence of eye disease(s).


Research volunteers will receive a $25 gift card to Walmart after completing the study.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you meet these criteria.

  • You have had Type 1 diabetes for 15 years or longer. 
  • You are 18 years of age or older.

IRB Approval: PRO00023638, 2/27/2015

Contact Ophthalmology

For patient care inquires, call us at (414) 955-2020 or use MyChart. Email is for research and education inquiries only.

Eye Institute Location

925 N. 87th St.

Milwaukee, WI 53226



(414) 955-2020

(414) 955-6166 (fax)


Continuing Medical Education

Mary Schafer


(414) 955-7840


Medical Education Coordinator



Director of Development - Ophthalmology

Gina Vrtochnick


(414) 955-5906 

Refer to Us - Consultation requests

Physician Referral Form (PDF)

Fax to (414) 955-0136


Emergent Requests

Within 48 hours call

(414) 955-2020



Vesper Williams


(414) 955-7862


Advanced Ocular Imaging Program


(414) 955-2647


Eye Institute Executive Director (Administrator)

Shannon Dreier


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