Retinal Degeneration

The retina of the eye contains millions of highly specialized cells. Some of the cells capture images (in the form of light) from the visual field. Others carry the information to the brain where it is translated into what we see. The cells are supported by a structured “floor” and nourished by a unique system of blood vessels that also carry away cellular waste products. The varieties of retinal cells are confined, for the most part, to distinct retinal layers and are affected differently by retinal disorders. Some disorders affect the light-capturing cells. Others cause the brain-connecting cells to fail. Some do so by altering the floor or vasculature and others by disrupting the internal workings of the cells.

Among the retinal disorders being studied by scientists at Doheny Eye Institute are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), retinal central vein occlusion, and retinopathy of prematurity.

Researchers are finding new ways to prevent, treat, and cure retinal disorders. These range from nutritional therapies to stem cell therapies. The nutritional therapies, for some forms of AMD, help patients who are at a mid-range stage of the disease. The stem cell therapies are designed to repair the retinal floor, called the retinal pigment epithelium, which malfunctions in many retinal degenerative disorders.

A specialized program at Doheny Eye Institute called the Doheny Image Reading Center (DIRC) is critically important to the worldwide vision research community. DIRC receives photographic images of the retinas of patients with retinal disorders at various stages; the DIRC scientists analyze and report on the images; the reports help scientists and medical doctors evaluate the effects of standard and experimental therapies on the progression of patients’ retinal disease.

Researchers

Steven Barnes, PhD

Steven Barnes, PhD

Retinal Neurobiology

Kaustabh Ghosh, PhD

Kaustabh Ghosh, PhD

Retinal & Macular Diseases

Zhihong (Jewel) Hu, PhD

Zhihong (Jewel) Hu, PhD

Retina

Michael Ip, MD

Michael Ip, MD

Retinal & Macular Diseases

Ram Kannan, PhD

Ram Kannan, PhD

Retina

Phillip Le, MD, PhD

Phillip Le, MD, PhD

Retinal & Macular Diseases

SriniVas Sadda, MD

SriniVas Sadda, MD

Retinal & Macular Diseases

Sindhu Saraswathy, PhD

Sindhu Saraswathy, PhD

Retina

Yuhua Zhang, PhD

Yuhua Zhang, PhD

Retina

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The work of the Doheny Imaging Reading Center (DIRC) here at the Doheny Eye Institute can be very personally meaningful –for patients we treat here, and for those patients around the world whose images we analyze.