Focus shift from biochemistry to biomechanics in eye disease
Monday, April 15 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Research on vision loss has always focused heavily on biochemical processes. However, two Swedish researchers are now stressing the importance of biomechanical processes.
“We have not previously understood the mechanisms behind glaucoma and retinal detachment, but we knew that these diseases had a strong mechanical component,” explained researchers Fredrik Ghosh and Linnéa Taylor at the Lund University. “Our findings could form an initial explanation as to why we develop these diseases.”
The researchers used technological innovations to grow retinal tissue from pigs in a mechanical state similar to that present in the living eye. This allowed them to perform longer studies before the retina lost its structure and the cells died.
“This gives us new tools to understand in a more concrete manner how biomechanical factors in the central nervous system influence the health of cells when we are healthy and when we suffer from diseases,” said the researchers.
The results show that when the biomechanical balance is disturbed, as happens in glaucoma and retinal detachment, the normal function of the retina is lost, resulting in serious vision loss.