Spectral Contrast of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Reflectance: a New Means for Sensitive Detection of Glaucomatous Damage
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, damages a type of neuronal cells called retinal ganglion cells and their nerve fibers, known as axons, in the eye. Early detection of abnormities of the nerve fibers can permit early medical intervention to prevent vision loss in glaucomatous patients. The proposed research will develop a new optical imaging method that detects abnormities of the light reflected by the nerve fibers. The new approach can provide sensitive detection of the abnormities that occur at early stages of glaucoma. If successful, the developed methods can be readily translated to clinical use and provide clinicians with a new means to sensitively detect early glaucomatous damage, opening an early therapeutic window for the prevention of glaucomatous damage and vision loss.
Currently the clinical diagnosis of glaucoma most often uses measurements of the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer; and these measurements are unable to detect glaucomatous damage at early stages of the disease. Studies have shown that glaucoma causes change in the light reflected by the nerve fibers; in addition, this occurs prior to thickness change. The proposed research will develop a new optical imaging method that detects abnormalities of the light reflected by the nerve fibers of glaucomatous retinas. If successful, the developed methods can be readily translated to clinical use and provide clinicians with a new means to detect glaucoma at an early stage, opening a therapeutic window for the prevention of progressive and irreversible vision loss.