John and Melinda Thompson Chair in Vision Neurosciences Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Dr. Agnes Wong's research focuses on the interaction between the eyes and the brain in normal and diseased states. She uses sophisticated techniques to measure visual functions, eye movements, brain activities, and brain connectivity with the eyes to investigate how the normal brain functions, and how these brain functions change in the diseased states. Three main research areas:
Crossed Eyes in Infancy (Infantile Esotropia)
is a health condition with an incidence of 8.3 per 100,000 children 18 years of age or under. Contrary to the popular belief that crossed eyes is a purely cosmetic condition, children born with crossed eyes suffer from a number of visual and eye movement impairments. Our goal is to understand the brain mechanisms that cause crossed eyes and to find a cure for it. Specifically, our research aims to answer three major questions:
(1) How do the brain circuits that control vision and eye movements differ between cross-eyed and visually-normal infants?
(2) How can we alter the development of these brain circuits to prevent or cure crossed eyes in infancy?
(3) Can early surgery prevent maldevelopment of these brain circuits?
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
is a visual impairment of one or both eyes caused by inadequate use during early childhood; it cannot be corrected immediately by prescription glasses. It is the most common cause of visual impairment in one eye in the western world, and affects about 3 to 5 per cent of the general population. Although tremendous amount of resources are spent on preventing and treating lazy eye, approximately 50 per cent of children do not respond to therapies, and thus, many patients with lazy eye continue to have abnormal vision throughout their adult lives. Our goal is to understand how lazy eye affects the visual brain and to find a cure for it. Specifically, our research aims to answer four major questions:
(1) How do the brain circuits in people with lazy eye differ from those with normal vision?
(2) How does lazy eye affect three-dimensional (3D) depth perception and eye movements?
(3) How do the eye-hand coordination skills in people with lazy eye differ from those with normal vision?
(4) How can we develop more effective treatments for lazy eye?
Double Vision (Diplopia) / Strabismus from Brain Diseases
is a common and disabling feature of many diseases that affect adults, including strokes, brain tumours, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Our goal is to understand the brain mechanisms that cause double vision and to find a cure for it. Specifically, our research aims to answer three major questions:
(1) How are the three-dimensional characteristics of eye movements altered by diseases of the brain?
(2) What are the mechanisms underlying these changes, and how do they adapt over time?
(3) What are the effects of different kinds of surgery on vision and on brain recovery / adaptation?