Eye health is more important than ever.

With the latest statistics suggesting that a blindness epidemic is on the horizon, it’s evident that more needs to be done across the globe towards improving the way we screen eye diseases and disorders. In answer to this, researchers at the University of Rochester have been developing a new eye imaging technique to change the way that eye health is assessed.

This new technology is the first to ever be able to monitor individual cells at the back of the eye; an area that is often affected with vision loss diseases such as glaucoma. This new way of screening the retina could revolutionise eye testing forever, and may even detect blindness long before it happens.

Early Diagnosis for Glaucoma

The development of this new screening technique has one simple aim; to prevent the problems of vision loss through early diagnosis and prevention treatment. With glaucoma being the second biggest cause of blindness in the world, it’s a major breakthrough to be able to screen cells which are connected to the disease. The new technology is designed to distinguish individual retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which is something that has never been achieved before.

detecting glaucoma

There has been a lot of interest in RGC imaging over the years. Despite various attempts by researchers, it has not been possible, until now, to capture images of RGCs due to their very transparent nature.

Up until this latest advancement, glaucoma has been detected and assessed by the thickness of nerve fibres going from the cells to the brain. While this has been a good indication to help eye doctors make a diagnosis; it’s a diagnosis that is often too late.

By the time retinal fibre shows a change in thickness, the eye patients may have lost up to 100,000 cells or more.

With no more than 1.2 million RGCs in each eye, a loss of 100,000 can be extremely detrimental to your vision.

The development of this imaging technique can really help to make a difference to eye health worldwide.

The Future of RGC Imaging

Whilst great progress has been made in RGC imaging, there still needs to be further tests before this technology can be used on patients.

The study conducted at the University of Rochester included a small group of volunteers and in order to ensure the complete robustness of the imaging technique. To follow up, the research team must now run the same tests with a larger group of people.retinal cells

Although this technology is not ready to launch in clinics, the work completed so far has been very promising. The world of eye health can expect great things should further testing prove successful; there’s hope for future sufferers of glaucoma and other related vision loss diseases.


By james