Image created using a nuclear label of a flat-mount preparation of the hyaloid vessels from the eye. Source: Richard Lang, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, OH
This image may conjure up thoughts of bioluminescent jellyfish, but it actually shows a network of developing blood vessels in the eye of a three day old mouse. A study in Nature last week determined that light regulates the pattern of mouse blood vessels as they develop. Observing the intermediate states of eye development is important because abnormal blood vessel development is a major cause of blindness in premature infants.
This graph provides a frightening look at a problem that could threaten the vision of more than 6 million Americans by 2050: glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve — a bundle of 1 million-plus nerve fibers connecting the light-sensitive retina to the brain — and that can lead to vision loss and blindness.
NIH research is trying to change this picture by developing better strategies for treatment and prevention. But you can also help. How? By getting your eyes checked regularly.
With early detection and treatment, serious vision loss can often be prevented. Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some folks are at higher risk:
African Americans over age 40
Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
People with a family history of glaucoma
Glaucoma often has no symptoms until a lot of damage has already been done. So the best way to prevent a bad outcome from glaucoma is by undergoing a simple eye exam that can be done by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist — at least once every 2 years for people in high-risk groups.
Appointed the 16th Director of NIH by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate. He was sworn in on August 17, 2009. On June 6, 2017. President Donald Trump announced his selection of Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director.