La restauración de la visión explicada

El equipo de investigación de la Restauración de la Visión de Catalyst for a Cure está explorando y desarrollando estrategias novedosas para proteger, reparar y reemplazar las células nerviosas retinianas perdidas y ayudarlas a reconectarse con el cerebro visual.

Catalyst for a Cure’s Vision Restoration research team is exploring and developing novel strategies to protect, repair and replace lost retinal nerve cells and help them reconnect with the visual brain.

How the eye works

The eye focuses light on tissue at the back of the eyeball, called the retina. There are approximately one million optic nerve cells lining the retina. Each optic nerve cell has a long fiber that connects a point on the retina with a corresponding point on the brain. The optic nerve is a collection of approximately one million of these fibers. The retina processes light information and then transmits it through the optic nerve to the brain, where vision is experienced.

What happens when there is glaucoma?

In glaucoma, damage occurs to the optic nerve head, often caused by increased pressure within the eye, leading to optic nerve cell fiber degeneration and ultimately death. optic nerve cell death. Once these optic nerve cells die, that point on the retina is no longer connected to the brain, and that disconnected area forms a visual field defect. As the disease progresses, more and more nerve cells become disconnected, causing vision loss.

How can vision be restored?

Current treatments for glaucoma focus on preserving vision, but we have no current treatments to restore it. Catalyst for a Cure researchers are pursuing two main goals that are necessary to restore vision: 1) develop a strategy for optic nerve cell transplantation and 2) develop neuroprotective therapies for glaucoma. In order to restore vision, the transplanted optic nerve cells must survive, regenerate, and connect to the correct area of ​​the brain.

Next steps

Researchers are working to develop therapies that improve the function of injured but not yet dead optic nerve cells, improve the survival of transplanted optic nerve cells, and halt the progression of vision loss from glaucoma. They have already identified several promising options to improve the survival of optic nerve cells. Researchers are now working to improve optic nerve cell transplantation and plan the next steps to translate these techniques to the clinic.

Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD

Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD

Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Institute, University of California, San Diego and a principal investigator in the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative.