retine

Moving Closer to Curing Common Cause of Blindness

Full article at http://neurosciencenews.com/retinitis-pigmentosa-rod-opsin-2572/.

Scientists at The University of Manchester have successfully restored the sight of laboratory mice suffering from a common cause of blindness in people.

The research is in Current Biology. (full open access)

Research: “Restoration of Vision with Ectopic Expression of Human Rod Opsin” by Jasmina Cehajic-Kapetanovic, Cyril Eleftheriou, Annette E. Allen, Nina Milosavljevic, Abigail Pienaar, Robert Bedford, Katherine E. Davis, Paul N. Bishop, and Robert J. Lucas in Current Biology doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.07.029

Image: The treatment works by expressing a light sensitive human protein called rod opsin into the undamaged cells of the retina, so that it will turn them into special cells called photoreceptors which enable sight. Image adapted from the University of Manchester article.

How much would you pay to see clearly again?

Okay. Info time. 

Eye floaters are essentially debris that float around in the vitreous humour of the eye, brought about by aging, myopia, and/or various eye conditions. Nearly 70-80% of ALL PEOPLE will experience spots, strings, fog, or worm-like debris in their visual field at one point or another (shadows of this debris cast upon the retina). They may be black, white, gray, or nearly transparent. There are no warnings. It can happen to anybody—it will most likely happen to you—and while it can be a sign of retinal  detachment, it more often wreaks havoc on one’s mental health. There is a latent belief perpetuated in the eye health industry that floaters are completely benign, or, minor annoyances; however, thousands upon thousands of individuals experience despondency and anxiety to debilitating levels, triggering or exacerbating mental conditions such as OCD, GAD, and, commonly, depression.

It is appalling and utterly gut-wrenching to hear from doctors, optometrists, and ophthalmologists that floaters are inconsequential unless they obstruct the view enough to merit a vitrectomy—an incredibly invasive surgery that involves sucking out the vitreous and replacing it with a saline fluid. This surgery is risky, uncommon, expensive, and was not even developed for the purposes of getting rid of floaters. We have entire industries dedicated to  benign manifestations of the aging process. Wrinkles, skin tags, moles, and hair loss to name a few. Of all the senses, vision grounds us, furnishes our existence, gives richness to the world that is incomparable. For the young people that experience eye floaters, it may be even more devastating.

I believe that it is possible to overturn the misconceptions surrounding eye floaters. A safe, non-surgical treatment for eye floaters has the potential to be incredibly lucrative given the millions of people that experience them. I do not know anybody who would not consider vision (or lack of) one of the most integral parts in the way they experience the world. Eye On Vision, an organization devoted to eliminating visual snow and eye floaters, has set up a research campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/floaters. They are looking for an enzymatic treatment to dissolve floaters. They have had success in funding visual snow research and have contact with researchers who would be absolutely dedicated to working on the eradication of eye floaters given the funds and opportunity. I implore you to check out the cause. The fact that no research is being done REALLY FUCKING SUCKS.

You may also visit http://www.oneclearvision.org/ for more information about charity, or http://floatertalk.yuku.com/, to read testimonials from some English-speaking floater sufferers.

Can you imagine never again seeing your favourite sights clearly and without obstruction? A floater in your central vision could just as easily obscure your children’s faces as easily as it does the sky or your precious TV screen. This isn’t like getting mascara in your eye, or a speck of dust. No matter how much you rub your eyes, nor how much sleep you get, they will never go away.

Benign? Inconsequential?

I don’t think so. 

Some examples (though they vary greatly): 1 2 3

tl;dr: having permanent gunk in your vision sucks more than I can describe. eye floaters should be easily treatable by now and would greatly improve the quality of life of many people. CONSIDER DONATING TO http://www.gofundme.com/floaters AND SHARING THIS POST. thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Surprising Data About Visual Connections in the Brain Revealed by ‘Brainbow’

Neuroscientists know that some connections in the brain are pruned through neural development. Function gives rise to structure, according to the textbooks. But scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered that the textbooks might be wrong.

The research is in Cell Reports. (full open access)

Research: “Multiple Retinal Axons Converge onto Relay Cells in the Adult Mouse Thalamus” by Sarah Hammer, Aboozar Monavarfeshani, Tyler Lemon, Jianmin Su, and Michael Andrew Fox in Cell Reports doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2015.08.003

Image: Using a technique dubbed “brainbow,” the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists tagged synaptic terminals with proteins that fluoresce different colors. The researchers thought one color, representing the single source of the many terminals, would dominate in the clusters. Instead, several different colors appeared together, intertwined but distinct. Credit: Virginia Tech.