While poets may claim they're the windows to the soul, our eyeballs are actually fluid-filled bags. The pressure of this liquid needs to be carefully maintained – if it builds up too much it can lead to the eye disease glaucoma. Now an important discovery’s been made about a tiny tube, known as Schlemm's canal, that controls the flow of fluid in the eye – here are two microscope images of the canal, taken as if looking along the tube from one end. Through detailed studies in mice, the researchers have found that this piece of biological plumbing forms in an entirely new way, different from the way that other tubes (such as blood vessels) are built. It sheds light on how Schlemm's canal keeps our eyes healthy and what happens when things go wrong in glaucoma, a disease that leaves millions of people around the world blind.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.