New '2-in-1' test simplifies retina evaluations

4 February 2015

A new study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, has measured two aspects of retinal health: the function of retinal blood vessels and light-detecting cells.

The work opens up new possibilities for understanding the molecular changes that happen in a diseased retina, as well as helping teams further evaluate the benefits of treatment in the early stages of retinal disease.

"We believe these findings will enhance and speed decisions about treatment in patients with specific diseases of the eye," said Dr Bruce Berkowitz, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Anatomy/Cell Biology/Ophthalmology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. "This, in turn, may slow the progression of such diseases and help save sight in patients."

Dr Berkowitz and his colleagues used a novel type of magnetic resonance imaging to take two pictures of the retina: one in the dark and one in the light. When comparing these two images, the team were able to determine that the front of the retina behaved differently from the back of the retina. 

This suggests that different reactions to light and dark are caused by changes in the blood flow in the front and photoreceptor metabolism in the back of the retina. 

Posted by Edward Bartel

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