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NEI Research News

Thanks to the work of NEI scientists and grantees, we’re constantly learning new information about the causes and treatment of vision disorders. Get the latest updates about their work — along with other news about NEI.

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Microglia in retinal sections of a patient with retinitis pigmentosa

Immune System Can Slow Degenerative Eye Disease, NIH-led Mouse Study Shows

June 17, 2019

A new study shows that the complement system, part of the innate immune system, plays a protective role to slow retinal degeneration in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye disease.
Side-by-side panels showing retinal vessels. Left panel filled with green, right panel much less green.

Faulty molecular master switch may contribute to AMD

January 22, 2019

A signaling pathway controlled by transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) could be involved in the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Field of green microglia on black background

Immune cells in the retina can spontaneously regenerate

March 21, 2018

Immune cells called microglia can completely repopulate themselves in the retina after being nearly eliminated, according to a new study in mice from scientists at the National Eye Institute (NEI).
Xu Wang with Wai Wong in lab

Breast cancer drug dampens immune response, protecting light-sensing cells of the eye

March 13, 2017

The breast cancer drug tamoxifen appears to protect light-sensitive cells in the eye from degeneration, according to a new study in mice.
A microglial cell (green) extends spider-like arms to capture and consume rod photoreceptor cells (blue). Credit: Dr. Wai Wong, NEI.

In Blinding Eye Disease, Trash-Collecting Cells go Awry, Accelerate Damage

July 2, 2015

Spider-like cells inside the brain, spinal cord and eye hunt for invaders, capturing and then devouring them. These cells, called microglia, often play a beneficial role by helping to clear trash and protect the central nervous system against infection.