Ciliary zonules are a ring of fibrous structures anchoring the ciliary body with the lens of the eye. These are the structures that help to maintain the position of the lens in the optical path, and anchor muscles that change the shape of the lens to alter focus. When the ciliary muscles contract, the diameter of the ciliary muscle constricts, causing relaxation of the ciliary zonules and allowing the lens to become “thicker” which increases its refractive power allowing people to focus closer.
These images were found in an image storage archive here at the Moran Eye Center, and we do not have any information about their origin, or details of their capture. They are however, excellent images and worthy of sharing. My thanks to James Gilman for finding them.
A very cool paper was published in JAMA yesterday that is a result of Google Research asking if machine learning and computer vision could improve retinal fundoscopic examinations of patients with diabetic retinopathy. The outcome of course is increased patient screening for physicians with limited resources.
Please Touch The Art is a short film about Andrew Myers, an artist who creates tactile art for the blind and visually impaired. Andrew got his start producing the art as a surprise for his friend George Wurzel and has continued to work in the medium designed to help the blind and low vision community participate in the art experience.
There is an excellent editorial in the 25 March 2016 edition of Science Magazine from Francis Collins et. al. re-stating the NIH position on support for basic science. This is important for anyone applying to the NIH for grants as well as those reviewing NIH grants as the central question should be: “How much will the proposed work advance understanding and progress in the field?”.
There is a new Explorer special based on an article in the latest issue of National Geographic with Michael Stevens (@tweetsauce), Unlocking The Eyes that is well worth checking out. In the video above, Michael interviews Marty Banks and William Sprague about why many prey animals like goats have the eye anatomy they do. i.e., why are their eyes have horizontal pupils and why their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads?
This short video features the art of Steven Erra, a photographer who is losing his vision due to a retinal degenerative disease, yet is generating beautiful work by light painting. Steven is a member of The Seeing With Photography Collective, a group of sight impaired artists who are making waves in the art world through their imagery and inspiring the work of both sighted and non-sighted photographers alike.
There is a short video from National Geographic that is a companion to an article by Ed Yong (@edyong209) in National Geographic here. The photography is wonderful as is typical of National Geographic and is well worth your time.
George RedHawk is a legally blind artist who’s medium is animated gifs and his work is truly stunning. There is a really interesting portfolio of his work on Graphic Art News as well as some background on how he manages to create these amazing works here. In short, he uses photo morphing software to morph one image into another, then he makes animated gifs. Check out his website for more work from his portfolio of on-going works titled “The World Through My Eyes” here.
The extinct Neanderthals had orbital eye sockets that are much larger than ours. Recently, there has been an discussion covered in a fascinating article linked the other day on the BBC discussing the large orbital eye sockets of the Neanderthals and whether these eye represented a reason for the Neanderthals’ demise or not.
One of my favorite movie lines is in Blade Runner when Hannibal Chew tells Roy Batty that he designed his eyes. Until reality catches up with science fiction, eye design is still in the hands of designing prosthetic and attractive, but non-functional eyes.
This intriguing video features David Carpenter of the Ocular prosthetics division of Moorfields Eye Hospital discussing how to make a prosthetic eye to replace one lost due to trauma or disease. Every year, David and his team craft 1,400 customized prosthetic eyes for patients, filling a fundamental cosmetic need.
There is an interesting paper from an evo devo perspective out of the Jékely laboratory, looking at the connectomics of some of the earliest of organized visual systems in the Platynereis dumerilii larva. They have described a visual circuit consisting of 71 neurons and 1,106 “connections”. The cool thing about this study was that they were also able to combine behavioral experiments with ablations revealing the ability to detect spatial light, directing movement or taxis in the direction of the light.
Its too bad I did not visit with them last time I was in Tübingen as it would have been good to talk connectomics and techniques with them. I am encouraged that they used serial section transmission electron microscopy to perform circuit level analysis as we think its the right approach for circuit level analysis, though I worry that the resolution was too low to image gap junctions, though they did mention looking for them. Regardless, I would have loved to see their setup and talked with them.
“What has shaken many in the field is not that investigators are unable to precisely reproduce an experiment. That is to be expected. What is shocking is that in many cases, the big idea or major conclusion was not confirmed simply when experi- ments were performed by the same investigators when blinded to their test samples versus control samples.2 The explanation for this was evident when the precise methodology of the experiments was reviewed. Investigators typically performed their experiments in a nonblinded fashion, so they were able to see what they were anticipating to see, and their research bias was thus able to be confirmed.18 Observer bias has long been recognized to be a problem in preclinical studies and beyond, so this result should not be surprising.19 Confirmation bias in scientific investigation unavoidably makes even the best scientists prone to try to find results or interpretations that fit their preconceived ideas and theories.20,21”