Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Retinal Revelation
21 June 2014

Retinal Revelation

As light enters our eye it passes through the cornea – the transparent skin over the iris and pupil – and the lens. Like glancing arrows, the light rays are bent into focus. They shoot across a clear, gel-filled chamber and strike a layer of light-sensitive cells that line the back of the eye. This is the retina, where the true alchemy begins. The light triggers a cascade of chemical and electrical impulses that race along the optic nerve to the brain, which creates an image – vision. However retinal problems such as age-related macular degeneration – the leading cause of visual impairment in the UK – can lead to blindness. But scientists have managed to grow a human retina from stem cells, which could be used to halt or reverse vision loss. Here, stem cells in the lab-grown retina have differentiated into photoreceptors (stained green) that respond to light.

Written by Nick Kennedy

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