Latest Medical Breakthrough: New Retinal Imaging Technique Could Help Prevent Vision Loss
Researchers were able to develop a new retinal imaging technique that could help prevent vision loss. This latest medical breakthrough focuses on capturing the image of retinal ganglion cells (RGC).
Diseases like glaucoma heavily affect the RGCs that would eventually lead to vision loss. The researchers hope that the new retinal imaging technique will not only prevent vision loss but also revolutionize the diagnosis of eye-related diseases.
The new retinal imaging technique was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center, which takes images of the human retina non-invasively. The human retina is located at the very back of the eyes and is important for vision, in particular, the RGCs.
The RGCs or the retinal ganglion cells are output neurons that are responsible for processing and relaying visual information to the brain. It is hard to capture an image of RGCs as they are nearly perfectly transparent. The new imaging retinal technique developed by the researchers was the first one to successfully capture an image of individual retinal ganglion cells.
The new retinal imaging technique is a modification of an existing imaging technology called confocal adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) and using a method called multi-offset detection. Multiple images were captured by varying the size and location of the optical detector. These multiple images are then combined to show the image of the individual RGCs.
The same imaging technique was also used to assess the health of cone photoreceptors. These cones are responsible for colors and are the first one to die due to age-related macular degeneration. Translucent fatty deposits called Drusen are signs of macular degeneration. By using the new imaging retinal technique, the researchers were able to assess the health of the cones near the Drusen.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers hope that by developing and improving this new retinal imaging technique, it will not only revolutionize the diagnosis of eye-related illnesses but also provide information to help develop appropriate medical strategies for its prevention or cure.