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Thursday / May 30.
HomeminewsNew View of Rods Will Lead to Early Disease Detection

New View of Rods Will Lead to Early Disease Detection

Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York have discovered a way to see and image the tiny contiguous rod mosaics that sense light at the back of the eye. Using adaptive optics (AO), the same technology astronomers use to study distant stars and galaxies; they have designed and built a retinal camera with high enough resolution to reveal the eye’s cellular structure with unprecedented detail.

The ability to do so will enable doctors to diagnose degenerative eye diseases sooner and therefore lead to earlier intervention
and treatments.

“It’s impossible to overemphasize how important early detection is to eye disease,” said researcher Prof. Alfredo Dubra who led the team of researchers from Rochester, Marquette University, and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Milwaukee.

“Current clinical diagnosis looks at microscopic changes in the retina and by the time signs are detectable, thousands – or tens of thousands of cells could have died”.

Imaging contiguous rod mosaics will allow us to study the impact of a whole new class of blinding disorders on
the retina…

“While therapies are only emerging, the ability to see the cells you are trying to rescue represents a critical first step in the process of restoring sight,” he added.

Other researchers also expressed enthusiasm about the new technology. “This is a really exciting breakthrough,” said Steve Burns, a professor in the School of Optometry at Indiana University, who is not involved in the Biomedical Optics Express research.

“Imaging contiguous rod mosaics will allow us to study the impact of a whole new class of blinding disorders on the retina. Since many of the eye diseases most amenable to intervention affect the rods, this should become a major tool for determining what treatments work best for those disorders.”