New Image Of Eye Structure Could Improve Glaucoma Treatments

Oct 21, 2019

The left image shows what can usually be seen in a doctor's office. The right image shows a portion of the same part of the eye in much greater detail using methods developed at IU.
Credit Courtesy the Indiana University School of Optometry

The first accurate picture of the part of the eye where glaucoma starts has been captured. Researchers out of Indiana University recently accomplished this task.

Even with a microscope, it’s difficult to clearly see the structure of the eye related to glaucoma because of its location, moving fluid and a reflection. 

To correct this, the team of IU researchers adapted mirrors that astronomers use to view stars to see through the eye.

Dr. Thomas Gast is a senior scientist at the IU School of Optometry.

"This lets us see inside an eye with basically the quality that a pathologist would look at a piece of tissue with an optical microscope," says Gast.

The new imaging technique will allow doctors to provide a better prognosis and improve surgical techniques for treatment.

"There are an incredible number of completely unknown situations here in glaucoma that we think this will clarify," says Gast.

Glaucoma is more common in people older than 60, or over 40 among African Americans. A growing number of patients are expected to develop the condition that can lead to blindness.

The researchers have a grant to continue this work to examine deeper levels of the eye.

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