The Wisconsin Reading Center

Leader in ophthalmic image evaluation since 1970

OUR MISSION: We lead by advancing the scientific understanding of preventable blindness through the interpretation of ophthalmic images in translational research and by our collaboration and leadership in the conduct and analysis of clinical and epidemiological trials.

To support our mission, we promote innovation, service and learning in ophthalmic imaging research.


We are the core image reading lab within the University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences studying diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, uveitis and other ophthalmic diseases. The Wisconsin Reading Center (WRC), formerly known as the Fundus Photograph Reading Center (FPRC), was founded on the enduring principles of intellectual honesty, quality, relevance, innovation and staff satisfaction.

We serve a wide range of academic institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms including the National Eye Institute, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network and the Department of Defense.


Meet the WRC Leadership Team

Barbara A. Blodi, MD

Matthew D. Davis Professor, Wisconsin Reading Center Medical Director

Amitha Domalpally, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Wisconsin Reading Center Research Director

Michael M. Altaweel, MD

Professor, Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Director

Chris Hodges

Director of Operations, Wisconsin Reading Center


For early phase clinical trials, we offer a streamlined approach tailored to the needs of the study and sponsor.

  • Consultation on protocol design
  • Project management
  • Image analysis
  • Certification and regulatory compliance




  • Consultation on protocol design
  • Defining ocular disease outcomes
  • Study protocol/start-up training
  • On-site/off-site and web-based training on imaging protocols
  • Certification of photography equipment and operators
  • Project management
  • Electronic upload of digital images
  • DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) conversion
  • Inventory tracking
  • Query monitoring
  • Image quality monitoring and reporting
  • Reproducibility reports for evaluation data
  • Collaboration on manuscript preparation
  • Storage and archival of study images

Evaluation Types

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Macular edema
  • Vein occlusion
  • Infectious and non-infectious uveitis
  • Cytomegalovirus retinitis
  • Lens opacities
  • Glaucoma and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Safety studies to monitor toxicity

Image Evaluations

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (quantitative and layer analysis)
  • Fundus autofluorescence (scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and camera-based)
  • Color fundus photography
  • Fluorescein and indocyanine green angiograms
  • Red reflex, retroillumination and slit lamp lens photographs

Regulatory Compliance

  • Independent Quality Assurance workgroup, reporting directly to the General Manager
  • WRC documentation is compliant with ICH (International Conference on Harmonisation) guidelines and global regulatory requirements
  • WRC developed software is compliant with 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 11, ICH and other applicable global regulatory requirements
  • WRC staff are trained in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), human subjects and regulatory compliance and follow a detailed set of policies and standard operating procedures
  • Expert FDA hearing support


All imaging technicians and equipment participating in any of our studies are required to be certified by the UW-WRC for each specific study and each specific procedure within that study, prior to submitting study participant images.


Dr. Barbara Blodi

  • U01DK094176 08/15/12-06/30/22 – The George Washington University/NIH

Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC)

EDIC is a multi-center, longitudinal, observational study that focuses on nephropathy and macrovascular complications. Dr. Blodi’s team at the Wisconsin Reading Center monitors the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy among study participants, providing training and certification in optical coherence tomography (OCT) for other personnel working on the EDIC grant, as well as grading the OCT images and associated tasks.

  • U10EY023521 09/30/13 – 03/31/20 – National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute

Study of Comparative Treatments for Retinal Vein Occlusion 2 [SCORE2] Comparative Trial

The major goals of this phase III trial is to study patients with central retinal vein occlusion. This comparative effectiveness research proposal aims to support a multicenter, prospective, randomized, phase III clinical trial to compare treatment protocols for decreased vision due to macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).

  • R01EY025292 (Co-Investigator with Dr. Julie Mares) 06/01/15 – 05/31/20 – National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute

Macular Pigment in Aging and Disease

This research provides the first evidence from long-term studies to determine whether having a low density of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina of the eye, predicts aging of the retina, the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration, and the loss of vision. Simple techniques exist to measure lutein and zeaxanthin density in the macula of the eye, safely and at low cost. Therefore, this research may provide the opportunity to identify individuals at risk for age-related eye disease in middle-age, and the opportunity to lower risk for eventual vision loss by increasing the intake of lutein and zeaxanthin in foods and supplements and adopting other strategies to lower risk, thereby preserving vision as they age.

  • U01DK061230 17-D18 08/01/16-04/30/20 – The George Washington University/NIH

Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth 2 (TODAY2): Phase 2 Long-Term Post-Intervention Follow-Up

The major goals of this project is to address gaps in knowledge about Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) in juveniles by continuing to follow a well-studied group of adolescents with T2D to identify causes and factors related to development of complications in young adulthood. Role: UW Principal Investigator

  • UG1EY023533 04/01/19-03/31/22 – Pennsylvania State University/NIH

The Study of Comparative Treatments for REtinal Vein Occlusion 2 [SCORE2] Long-term Follow up Study

The WRC provides the reading center component of the SCORE2 LTF trial including writing procedures and certification of imaging systems, project management, submission of images, grading of fundus photographs, OCT scans and fluorescein angiograms, data transfer to the coordinating center, quality control, and analysis of data derived from evaluation of fundus images, OCT and angiograms in conjunction with the study chair, co-chair and the coordinating center.

UW-Madison 07/01/19-06/30/20

Institute for Clinical and Translational Research $50,000

BIM Polymorphisms Impact on anti-VEGF Therapy for Neovascular AMD

The goal of this project is to determine whether patients that are non-responsive to anti-VEGF therapy have BIM polymorphisms with dysregulated VEGF and key pro-inflammatory mediator expression.

Dr. Michael Altaweel

  • U10EY024531 09/30/14-07/31/20 – National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute

Macular Edema Treatment Trials Associated with MUST (META-MUST)

The major goals of this project are to investigate how uveitis and its association with high rates of visual loss, typically caused by structural complications, of which uveitic macular edema is among the most common. Furthermore, macular edema is the most frequent cause of visual loss among patients with uveitis. The two comparative effectiveness trials will provide an evidence base to guide clinicians in the management of uveitic macular edema.

  • UG1 EY028087 09/30/18-8/31/23 – National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute

Adalimimab vs. conventional Immunosuppression for uveitis (ADVISE) trial

The major goals of this project are to use a randomized, comparative effectiveness trial of adalimumav vs. conventional immunosuppression for the treatment of non-infectious intermediate, posterior and panuveitides.

recent publications and NEWS

Artificial intelligence-based strategies to identify patient populations and advance analysis in age-related macular degeneration clinical trials.

Jul 01 2022

PubMed ID: 35525297 Author(s): Yaghy A, Lee AY, Keane PA, Keenan TDL, Mendonca LSM, Lee CS, Cairns AM, Caroll J, Chen H, Clark J, Cukras CA, de Sisternes L, Domalpally A, Durbin MK, Goetz KE,…

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Reservoir Technique: A Novel Method for Pressure-Controlled Silicone Oil Infusion Using the Constellation Vitrectomy System.

Jun 01 2022

PubMed ID: 30681642 Author(s): Boeke PS, Altaweel MM. Reservoir Technique: A novel method for Pressure-Controlled Silicone Oil Infusion using the Constellation Vitrectomy System. Retina. 2022 Jun 1;42(6):1211-1213. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0000000000002458. PMID 30681642 Journal: Retina (Philadelphia, Pa.),…

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The pupil constriction to light is associated with cognitive measures in middle-aged and older adults.

Mar 10 2022

PubMed ID: 35267180 Author(s): Chen Y, Hetzel S, Pinto AA, Paulsen AJ, Schubert CR, Hancock LM, Klein BE, Merten N, Cruickshanks KJ. The pupil constriction to light is associated with cognitive measures in middle-aged and…

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Intraocular accommodative movements in monkeys; relationship to presbyopia.

Mar 10 2022

PubMed ID: 35283107 Author(s): Croft MA, Nork TM, Heatley G, Mcdonald JP, Katz A, Kaufman PL. Intraocular accommodative movements in monkeys; relationship to presbyopia. Exp Eye Res. 2022 Mar 10:109029. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2022.109029. [Epub ahead of…

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Association of plasma ω-3 fatty acids with early age-related macular degeneration in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Mar 09 2022

PubMed ID: 35271555 Author(s): Karger AB, Guan W, Nomura SO, Weir NL, Klein BEK, Burke GL, Johnson WC, Tsai MY. Association of plasma ω-3 fatty acids with early age-related macular degeneration in the Multi-Ethnic Study…

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Cone photoreceptors in human stem cell-derived retinal organoids demonstrate intrinsic light responses that mimic those of primate fovea.

Mar 03 2022

PubMed ID: 35245468 Author(s): Saha A, Capowski E, Fernandez Zepeda MA, Nelson EC, Gamm DM, Sinha R. Cone photoreceptors in human stem cell-derived retinal organoids demonstrate intrinsic light responses that mimic those of primate fovea.…

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310 N. Midvale Blvd, Suite 205
Madison, Wisconsin 53705
Phone: (608) 262-1334
Fax: (608) 265-9509