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photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells are shown on a video playbutton.

An artificial retina engineered from ancient protein heads to space

April 12, 2021

LambdaVision, the Farmington, Connecticut-based biotech firm that developed the artificial retina, is exploring optimizing production of an artificial retina in space, in a series of missions to the International Space Station.
Artist's rendering of photoreceptor signaling a retinal ganglion cell

Moving future regenerative therapies for blinding eye diseases to the clinic

April 30, 2017

A new report outlines steps to bringing future regenerative therapies for blinding diseases of the retina to patients. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. When stimulated, retinal neurons send visual information to the brain.
Image of a mouse retina

NIH scientists deploy CRISPR to preserve photoreceptors in mice

March 14, 2017

Silencing a gene called Nrl in mice prevents the loss of cells from degenerative diseases of the retina, according to a new study. The findings could lead to novel therapies for preventing vision loss from human diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
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.
Dr. John Guy and colleagues added a homing signal to a virus in order to deliver the ND4 gene into mitochondria. A marker for the gene is shown in red and the ND4 protein is shown in green, inside retinal ganglion cells in the mouse eye. The nuclei of retinal ganglion cells are shown in blue. Credit: Dr. Hong Yu, Bascom Palmer.

Scientists Test New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease

October 5, 2015

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a novel mouse model for the vision disorder Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), and found that they can use gene therapy to improve visual function in the mice.
Cross-sectional images of retina from retinoschisin-deficient mice, untreated and treated with XLRS gene therapy.

NEI Human Gene Therapy Trial for Retinoschisis Underway

April 6, 2015

The National Eye Institute (NEI) recently launched the first-ever human gene therapy trial for the vision disorder X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS). Researchers are conducting the trial at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Center in...
NICU care providers take photos of a premature baby's retinas in the NEI-funded e-ROP study of telemedicine for retinopathy of prematurity. Photo credit: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Telemedicine catches blinding disease in premature babies

July 9, 2014

Telemedicine is an effective strategy to screen for the potentially blinding disease known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI).
Chichilnisky and colleagues used an electrode array to record activity from retinal ganglion cells (yellow and blue) and feed it back to them, reproducing the cells' responses to visual stimulation. Credit: E.J. Chichilnisky, Stanford.

Making artificial vision look more natural

July 9, 2014

In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object.
The retina has several layers of nerve cells. Photoreceptors (top, in green) are responsible for detecting light and converting it into electrical signals. Image courtesy of Wei Li, Ph.D., Unit on Retinal Neurophysiology, National Eye Institute.

Within sight: Light-activated drugs for restoring vision

February 3, 2014

Researchers have made progress toward an approach that would use light-sensitive drugs to stimulate cells in the retina and restore vision to people who are blind or visually impaired.
Dr. Krzysztof Palczewski

Translational research through teamwork

January 8, 2014

Imagine you are building a house. You would need a team of specialists, including an architect, a general contractor, carpenters, an electrician, a plumber and many others.