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A team, headed by David Calkins, have confirmed that the disease of irreversible blindness – shows up first in the brain, not the eye.
The researchers noticed that after injecting glaucoma-afflicted rodents with a special fluorescent dye the middle section of the brain got illuminated, where the optic nerve forms its first connections.
Thus it was found that the disease"s first signs were not in the retina. Instead, it turned that out the first stage of damage was at the other end of the optic nerve, in the mid-brain, which lost its ability to receive information from optic nerve fibers.
The optic nerve is a cable that connects the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye, with the brain.
"It's a very interesting study. It does have potentially profound implications for treatment, and even diagnosis, of glaucoma, if it holds true for humans. This study shows that the deficits start in the brain, not the eye," Darrell WuDunn, residency program director, says.