New view of origins of eye diseases

April 3, 2013
New view of origins of eye diseases
The retina, located in the interior of the eye, constitutes the most peripheral part of the central nervous system. Its purpose is to convert light to electrical impulses (transduction), to process visual information, and to transmit this information into the brain through the optic nerve. Credit: Copyright Fredrik Ghosh

Using new technology and new approaches, researchers at Lund University in Sweden hope to be able to explain why people suffer vision loss in eye diseases such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Research on such as and glaucoma has until now focused on the biochemical process that takes place in the eye in connection with the diseases.

Fredrik Ghosh and Linnéa Taylor have concentrated instead on attempting to understand what happens on a biomechanical level in the diseases and have produced results that have drawn a lot of interest from experts.

"We have not previously understood the mechanisms behind glaucoma and retinal detachment, but we knew that these diseases had a strong mechanical component. Our findings could form an initial explanation as to why we develop these diseases", said eye researchers Fredrik Ghosh and Linnéa Taylor.

Using new technology, the eye researchers at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Lund, in collaboration with researchers at the Department of Biology at Lund University, have developed a method to investigate the importance of the biomechanical environment within the .

For their studies, they grow retinal tissue from adult pigs in a stretched state similar to the normal mechanical state present in the . Compared with unstretched tissue, which in cultures dies after a few days when the retina's mechanical balance is disturbed, studies can now be performed for up to ten days in retina with a well-preserved structure and significantly higher .

"This gives us new tools to understand in a more concrete manner how biomechanical factors in the central nervous system influence the health of cells when we are healthy and when we suffer from diseases. This will not only have major importance for our understanding of how diseases come about in the central nervous system, but also for future disease treatment", said the researchers.

The central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and retinas, is a complicated organ, especially in terms of structure. The entire system is under the mechanical influence of fluid pressure, among other factors. The new data from the group in Lund indicates that when the biomechanical balance is disturbed, as happens in retinal detachment and glaucoma, the normal function of the retina is lost, resulting in serious sight impairment or blindness.

Explore further: After 55 years, surgery restores sight

More information: Stretch to See: Lateral Tension Strongly Determines Cell Survival in Long-Term Cultures of Adult Porcine Retina, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, March 2013. www.iovs.org/content/54/3/1845.abstract

Related Stories

After 55 years, surgery restores sight

June 17, 2011
After being hit in the eye by a stone, a detached retina left a man blind in his right eye. Despite surgery to remove a cataract when the man was 23, which temporarily restored light perception, the patient was completely ...

Diabetes leading to blindness in many people

November 30, 2012
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20 to 74 years old. Dr. Michael Grodin, co-director of retinal services and director of clinical research at Katzen Eye Group, with locations around Baltimore, ...

'Positive stress' helps protect eye from glaucoma

April 3, 2012
Working in mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have devised a treatment that prevents the optic nerve injury that occurs in glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease that is a leading cause ...

Researchers identify an early predictor for glaucoma

January 2, 2013
A new study finds that certain changes in blood vessels in the eye's retina can be an early warning that a person is at increased risk for glaucoma, an eye disease that slowly robs people of their peripheral vision. Using ...

Recommended for you

Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 prevents angiogenesis of the retina

July 24, 2017
A research team from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear has successfully prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina—the sensory tissue at the back of the eye—using gene-editing ...

Too little vitamin D may hinder recovery of injured corneas

July 24, 2017
Injury or disease in combination with too little vitamin D can be bad for the window to your eyes.

Combination of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea indicates eyesight loss within four years

July 4, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average ...

Nearly 60% of pinkeye patients receive antibiotic eye drops, but they're seldom necessary

June 28, 2017
A new study suggests that most people with acute conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, are getting the wrong treatment.

Magnetic implants used to treat 'dancing eyes'

June 26, 2017
A research team has successfully used magnets implanted behind a person's eyes to treat nystagmus, a condition characterised by involuntary eye movements.

Drug shows promise against vision-robbing disease in seniors

June 21, 2017
An experimental drug is showing promise against an untreatable eye disease that blinds older adults—and intriguingly, it seems to work in patients who carry a particular gene flaw that fuels the damage to their vision.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.