Using the same tools designed to observe the stars, vision scientists at Indiana University have taken the first accurate microscopic images of the trabecular meshwork—as structure found in the glaucoma-affected eye. The telescope technology could improve an understanding to why age is a factor for the trabecular meshwork to function poorly and such an understanding can translate to treatments for glaucoma patients.
"Normally, clear fluid circulates inside the eye to supply nutrition and keep it 'inflated' to its normal shape," said Dr. Brett King, chief of advanced ocular care services and associate clinical professor at the IU School of Optometry, who co-authored the study. "Alterations of the trabecular meshwork, which allows fluid to drain, elevates pressure in the eye, leading to glaucoma. The problem is the meshwork can only be seen poorly with the normal instruments in your doctor's office, due to its location where the iris inserts into the wall of the eye, as well as the near-total reflection that occurs when looking through the cornea."
The technology, referred to as “adaptive optics”, is made out of ophthalmic laser microscope that is modified with a programmable mirror and able to deform in real time. Findings of the study, reported in the journal of Translational Vision Science and Technology, is accurate enough to visualize single cells and measure blood flow inside the retina.
"Thanks to this research, the ocular drainage area of the eye can now be seen with much-improved clarity, which will improve our understanding of how this essential drainage area is being altered or damaged with age," King said. "We're very hopeful that this technology may help improve understanding and management of glaucoma, since many members of our team are clinicians who've managed patients with this disease for years."
Source: Science Daily