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Biology of the Eye
University of Southampton, UK
The eye is the organ which allows us to see. It provides what many people value as their most important sense. Accordingly loss of sight can have devastating consequences for an individual both psychologically and financially. Blindness can rob a person of their independence.... read more
Due to its transparency the eye provides an easy access point to study important processes in general medicine such as immunology, the vascular system and the central nervous system as well as the fascinating processes which result in vision and setting of circadian rhythms. This transparency allows imaging of nervous tissue, inflammatory cells and fine blood vessels in a manner impossible elsewhere in the body. Its relative small size as an organ and surgical accessibility means that it is ideal for testing novel therapies such as gene therapy and stem cell tissue regeneration.
The last couple of decades have witnessed truly enormous growth in our knowledge of the eye and the processes which lead to ophthalmic disease. Novel therapies have been developed and diseases which until a few years ago caused blindness are now regularly being successfully treated.
Moreover, as the population ages it is even more important to maintain sight into old age to maintain well being for the individual but also to reduce the burden of care for society.
This series on Ocular Biology will feature a speaking faculty composed of research-active experts and is designed to present to an interested and informed audience the most recent discoveries of how the eye functions in optimum health and what goes wrong in disease.