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Researchers Developing New Diagnostic Tool for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, but it can usually be halted or slowed with early diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately, most current methods of diagnosis can’t recognize glaucoma until the disease is well advanced. Researchers in bioengineering and ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago are working to develop a new technology for earlier diagnosis.

Glaucoma affects a specific type of cells in the retina called retinal ganglion cells. John Hetling, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, is working with ophthalmology researchers Thasarat Vajaranant and Charlotte Joslin to develop a new diagnostic technology based on the Contact Lens Electrode Array (CLEAr Lens), a lens made of the same material as an ordinary hard contact lens, but with an array of electrodes printed on it. When the physician shines a light into an eye wearing a CLEAr Lens, the electrodes can measure the health of the retina in fine detail.

With current techniques, 60 percent of an individual’s retinal ganglion cells may be lost before glaucoma is diagnosed. Hetling and his colleagues believe their work will lead to earlier detection and treatment that preserves a patient’s vision. The CLEAr Lens was developed in collaboration with Justin Williams, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Source: UIC News

Last reviewed on October 18, 2013

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