University of Rochester researchers have developed a new non-invasive retinal imaging technique that could help prevent the onset of vision loss in diseases like glaucoma - the second leading cause of acquired blindness worldwide, PTI reports.
According to scientists at the university's Medical Centre, their new technique would prevent vision loss via earlier diagnosis and treatment for these diseases.
The method can non-invasively image the human retina, a layer of cells at the back of the eye that are essential for vision.
The group led by David Williams from the University of Rochester was able to distinguish individual retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which bear most of the responsibility of relaying visual information to the brain.
There has been a longstanding interest in imaging RGCs because their death causes vision loss in glaucoma, the second leading cause of acquired blindness worldwide.
Even after great efforts, it had not been possible to successfully capture images of individual RGCs, due to the fact that they are nearly perfectly transparent.
Rather than imaging RGCs directly, glaucoma is currently diagnosed by assessing the thickness of the nerve fibres projecting from the RGCs to the brain.