All About the Eye and Vision - Diseases - Wikipedia

An eye is an organ of vision that detects light. Different kinds of light-sensitive organs are found in a variety of organisms. The simplest eyes do nothing but detect whether the surroundings are light or dark, while more complex eyes can distinguish shapes and colors. Many animals, including some mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, have two eyes which may be placed on the same plane to be interpreted as a single three-dimensional "image" (binocular vision), as in humans; or on different planes producing two separate "images" (monocular vision), such as in rabbits and chameleons.

In the News ...

Before eyes open, they get ready to see   Medical Express - August 25, 2020
A KAIST research team's computational simulations demonstrated that the waves of spontaneous neural activity in the retinas of still-closed eyes in mammals develop long-range horizontal connections in the visual cortex during early developmental stages. This new finding featured in the August 19 edition of Journal of Neuroscience as a cover article has resolved a long-standing puzzle for understanding visual neuroscience regarding the early organization of functional architectures in the mammalian visual cortex before eye-opening, especially the long-range horizontal connectivity known as "feature-specific" circuitry.

Researchers uncover genetic cause behind glaucoma   Medical Express - April 30, 2020

54 million year-old fossil flies yield new insight into the evolution of sight   PhysOrg - August 15, 2019
Fossilized flies that lived 54 million years ago have revealed a surprising twist to the tale of how insects' eyes evolved. These craneflies, unveiled in Nature today, show that insect eyes trap light the same way as human eyes, using the pigment melanin - yet another example of evolution finding similar solutions to similar problems.

Why So Many Bacteria Live on the Surface of Your Eye   Live Science - June 22, 2019
You may be familiar with the idea that your gut and skin are home to a collection of microbes - fungi, bacteria and viruses - that are vital for keeping you healthy. But did you know that your eyes also host a unique menagerie of microbes? Together, they're called the eye microbiome. When these microbes are out of balance - too many or too few of certain types - eye diseases may emerge. With a recent study showing bacteria live on the surface of the eye and stimulate protective immunity, scientists are beginning to discover the microbial factors that can be exploited to create innovative therapies for a range of eye disorders like Dry Eye Disease, Sjogren's Syndrome and corneal scarring. One day it may be possible to engineer bacteria to treat eye diseases in humans.

With single gene insertion, blind mice regain sight   Science Daily - March 15, 2019
Opsins make 'blind' cells light-sensitive; potential human treatment within three years

Gene Therapy for the Most Common Form of Blindness Gets Its First Human Test   Gizmodo - February 19, 2019
An 80-year-old woman from the United Kingdom is the first patient to undergo gene therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration - the most common cause of sight loss in the world. ItÕs too early to tell if the procedure worked, reports the BBC, but for the millions of people around the world at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, the experimental intervention marked an important medical milestone nonetheless.

Microscopic eye movements affect how we see contrast It is often difficult for a driver to see a person walking on the side of the road at nightŃespecially if the person is wearing dark colors. One of the factors causing this difficulty is a decrease in contrast, making it hard to segment an object, such as a person, from its background. Researchers previously believed contrast sensitivity function - the minimum level of black and white that a person needs to detect a pattern was mainly dictated by the optics of the eye and processing in the brain. Now, in a study researchers explain that there is another factor at play: contrast sensitivity also depends on small eye movements that a person is not even aware of making.

Reading from a wall chart could become a thing of the past! Eye-test gadget lets you check whether you need glasses from the comfort of your own home   Daily Mail - January 9, 2019
Testing your vision by reading tiny letters on a distant wall chart could become a thing of the past thanks to a revolutionary eye-testing gadget.

Why it doesn't get dark each time you blink: Scientists find a region of the brain that provides a picture of our surroundings even while our eyes are briefly closed   Daily Mail - September 24, 2018
Scientists may have finally solved a long-standing mystery over why it doesn't get dark when we blink. Humans blink around once every five seconds to keep our eyes moist, briefly shutting off light from our eyes. Researchers have now found a brain region that they believe provides a picture of our surroundings while our eyes are closed for each brief second. It remembers what we've just seen and overlays the image onto the dark patches during blinks to create a continual image. Scientists say the region, which is involved in our short-term memory, allows us to maintain a stable idea of what's around us despite regularly shutting off our vision.

Glaucoma may be an autoimmune disease - Unexpected findings show that the body's own immune system destroys retinal cells   Science Daily - August 10, 2018
A new study finds glaucoma may be an autoimmune disorder, mediated by T cells that target heat shock proteins in the retina. The discovery suggests it could be possible to develop new treatments for glaucoma by blocking this autoimmune activity.

Researchers map brain of blind patient who can see motion   Science Daily - June 13, 2018
Since the visual processing centers of her brain went dark after a stroke, a Scottish woman has been unable to see objects. However, she has developed the remarkable ability to see objects in motion neuroscientists have discovered. A team led by neuropsychologist Jody Culham has conducted the most extensive analysis and brain mapping to date of a blind patient, to help understand the remarkable vision of a 48-year-old Scottish woman, Milena Canning. Canning lost her sight 18 years ago after a respiratory infection and series of strokes. Months after emerging blind from an eight-week coma, she was surprised to see the glint of a sparkly gift bag, like a flash of green lightning.

When the eyes move, the eardrums move, too   Medical Express - January 23, 2018
The researchers found that keeping the head still but shifting the eyes to one side or the other sparks vibrations in the eardrums, even in the absence of any sounds. Surprisingly, these eardrum vibrations start slightly before the eyes move, indicating that motion in the ears and the eyes are controlled by the same motor commands deep within the brain. The findings, which were replicated in both humans and rhesus monkeys, provide new insight into how the brain coordinates what we see and what we hear. It may also lead to new understanding of hearing disorders, such as difficulty following a conversation in a crowded room.

The mysterious case of the boy missing most of his visual cortex who can see anyway   Medical Express - December 8, 2017
The boy, the researchers told the audience, suffered major damage to his visual cortex as a result of medium-chain acyl-Co-A dehydrogenase deficiency at just two weeks old - a rare condition that results in severe damage to nerve cells due to an inability to convert some types of fats into energy. That meant the boy, who the researchers referred to as B.I., wound up without most of his visual cortex, a condition that for most people would result in cortical blindness. Cortical blindness is an odd condition in which the brain can still receive visual input, but cannot process what is seen, leaving the person with the sensation of sight without being able to actually see. But oddly enough, B.I. can see almost as well as any other boy his age.

Could This Bionic Vision System Help Restore Sight?   Smithsonian - October 24, 2017
The technology gives hope that blind patients, who lost sight from disease, might one day emerge from the dark.

High-Speed 'Brain Modem' Could Restore Vision, Speech, and Movement
A California-based startup called Paradromics is developing a new technique for connecting the brain to computers with the goal of transmitting data at over one gigabit per second, effectively creating a high-speed neural broadband interface. In the near-term, the company is focused on using this cortical modem to restore speech functionality among people who have lost the ability to talk - for example, patients with Lou GehrigÕs disease, such as astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. If they are successful, the device will become a general brain-computer interface with broad implications for the field of prosthetics. High-definition cameras could be used to restore vision to the blind.

Why do we see monsters in the mirror?   MNN - August 16, 2017

Here's a fun exercise, though you might not want to do it alone. Stare into a mirror for several minutes and you may notice your face begin to distort. It could even morph into something downright scary. Seeing monsters in mirrors has long been an effective horror movie device and grist for urban legends. It might sound like a bunch of superstitious hooey, but scientific research now says that seeing altered images in a mirror is a real thing, most likely due in part to a type of optical illusion called "peripheral fading" or the Troxler Effect.

Cells in the retina light the way to treating jet lag   Medical Express - April 18, 2017
Researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock by sending signals to a region of the brain which regulates our daily (circadian) rhythms. This new understanding of how circadian rhythms are regulated through the eye could open up new therapeutic possibilities for restoring biological clocks in people who have jet lag through traveling or working night shifts.

Everyone has different 'bad spots' in their vision   Medical Express - April 10, 2017
An image to demonstrate visual 'crowding' and test peripheral vision. Ensure that the red dot in the centre of the image is at eye level and focus on it. While holding your focus on the red dot, try to read the middle 'C' in every triplet. Is the gap facing left or right? You may find it easier to read in some directions than others. People usually find it easier to read below the dot than above, and easier still to the left or right.

Myopia cell discovered in retina   Medical Express - February 6, 2017
Scientists have discovered a cell in the retina that may cause myopia when it dysfunctions. The dysfunction may be linked to the amount of time a child spends indoors and away from natural light. More than a billion people in the world have myopia, whose incidence is rising and is linked to how much time people spend indoors as children. The newly discovered retinal cell - which is highly sensitive to light - controls how the eye grows and develops. If the cell instructs the eye to grow too long, images fail to be focused on the retina, causing nearsighted vision and a lifetime of corrective glasses or contact lenses.

  No More Readers? New Implant May Help Aging Eyes   NBC - September 13, 2016
Fading, close-up vision is one of the more vexing and ubiquitous consequences of growing older. For Cheri Ekstadt of Lakeville, Minnesota, it's meant buying nine pairs of reading glasses, which she places wherever she might come across something with fine print.

Gene therapy reverses sight loss and is long-lasting   BBC - April 28, 2016
A genetic therapy has improved the vision of patients who would otherwise have gone blind. A clinical study has shown that the improvement is long-lasting and so the therapy is suitable to be offered as a treatment. The researchers will apply for approval to begin trials to treat more common forms of blindness, such as macular degeneration, next year. A team at Oxford University is treating a rare disorder called choroideremia. The disorder affects young men whose light-detecting cells in the backs of their eyes are dying because they have inherited a faulty gene.

Stem cells regenerate human lens after cataract surgery, restoring vision   Science Daily - March 9, 2016
> Researchers have developed a new, regenerative medicine approach to remove congenital cataracts in infants, permitting remaining stem cells to regrow functional lenses. The treatment, which has been tested in animals and in a small, human clinical trial, produced much fewer surgical complications than the current standard-of-care and resulted in regenerated lenses with superior visual function in all 12 of the pediatric cataract patients who received the new surgery.

The blind woman who switched personalities and could suddenly see   Washington Post - November 28, 2015
> After suffering a traumatic accident as a young woman, doctors diagnosed her with cortical blindness, caused by damage to the visual processing centers in her brain. So she got a seeing eye dog to guide her and grew accustomed to the darkness. Besides, B.T. had other health problems to cope with - namely, more than 10 wildly different personalities that competed for control of her body. It was while seeking treatment for her dissociative identity disorder that the ability to see suddenly returned. Not to B.T., a 37-year-old German woman. But to a teenage boy she sometimes became. With therapy, over the course of months, all but two of B.T.Õs identities regained their sight. And as B.T. oscillated between identities, her vision flicked on and off like a light switch in her mind. The world would appear, then go dark.

Diabetic blindness could be reversed with eye injection   The Telegraph - November 16, 2015
Researchers said that injections of the drug ranibizumab improved sight when compared to traditional treatments for people with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).

4 Ways To Actually Improve Your Eye Health   Huffington Post - November 4, 2015
1. Eat For Your Eyes
2. Work It Out
3. Grab Your Shades
4. Blink

Restoring vision with stem cells   Science Daily - October 6, 2015
Age-related macular degeneration could be treated by transplanting photoreceptors produced by the directed differentiation of stem cells, new research suggests. ARMD is a common eye problem caused by the loss of cones. Medical researchers have now developed a highly effective in vitro technique for producing light sensitive retina cells from human embryonic stem cells.

Tips to Eat Right for Eye Health   Epoch Times - September 8, 2015

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing high levels of vitamins, zinc, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids plays a vital role in eye health. Researchers have found that adding these eye-friendly nutrients to your diet every day can reduce the risk of certain eye conditions, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
Eat the Rainbow. Eat three colors of fruits and vegetables a day.
Get Comfortable With Carotenoids.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Ophthalmologist Away.
Make Friends With Fish.
Two Foods Are Better Than One.

Human Eye's Blind Spot Can Shrink with Training   Live Science - August 31, 2015
The blind spot of the human eye can be shrunk with certain eye-training exercises, thus improving a person's vision slightly, a small new study suggests. In the study of 10 people, researchers found that the blind spot - the tiny region of a person's visual field that matches up with the area in the eye that has no receptors for light, and hence cannot detect any image - can shrink 10 percent, with special training. That amount of change "is quite an improvement, but people wouldn't notice, as we are typically unaware of our blind spots. Normally, the brain pulls in visual information from the regions surrounding the blind spot, compensating for it, so people don't usually perceive it.

Why Your Eyes Dart Around When Dreaming   Live Science - August 12, 2015
Brain recordings revealed that every time the dreamers moved their eyes, neurons in the medial temporal lobe of the brain showed a burst in activity. The vivid, bizarre images that infuse dreams are formed when people make the darting, rapid eye movements characteristic of a certain stage of sleep, new research suggests.The findings confirm a long-held scientific hypothesis that such rapid eye movements during sleep reflect a person viewing their dream-world in the same way that they would take in a scene when awake. Because the same types of visual activity are under a person's conscious control when the individual is awake, the dream-state brain-cell firing shows very clearly that dreaming is a form of consciousness. You might call it an altered state of consciousness, an alternative state of consciousness.

Eye movements 'change scenes' during dreams   BBC - August 12, 2015
For the first time, scientists have recorded from individual brain cells during the dreaming phase of sleep. After each rapid eye movement (REM) they recorded bursts of activity that match what happens when we are awake and we see - or imagine - a new image. They suggest that these well-known flickering movements accompany a "change of scene" in our dreams.

Bionic eye fitted to British pensioner in world first   The Telegraph - July 21, 2015
Ray Flynn was fitted with the bionic eye in June and can make out faces for the first time since he lost his vision to age related macular degeneration. Ray Flynn, 80, has been unable to make out faces since he developed Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) eight years ago, a devastating condition which affects 500,000 people in the UK. But in June he was fitted with an electrical implant which sends a video feed directly to the undamaged cells in his retina from a tiny camera attached to his glasses.

Why Do I See Patterns When I Close My Eyes?   Huffington Post - June 26, 2015
Many people who have seen this visual phenomenon think it is an light-induced afterimage of what they had seen before they closed their eyes but an afterimage may only be part of what they are seeing. The real reason we are treated to this fuzzy fireworks display behind closed lids has to do with phosphenes! Phosphenes are the moving visual sensations of stars and patterns we see when we close our eyes. They are thought to be caused by the inherent electrical charges the retina produces even when it is in its "resting state" and not taking in a ton of information and light like it does when our eyes are open.

High-Tech 'Smart' Cane Helps Blind People Recognize Faces   Live Science - May 12, 2015
A new, high-tech cane for the blind is designed to recognize the faces of the person's friends and family members. Using smartphone technology, the device - known as the "XploR" mobility cane - can identify faces from up to about 33 feet (10 meters) away, researchers say. If the cane recognizes someone, it alerts a visually impaired user by vibrating and transmitting a sound signal. The cane is also equipped with GPS to help the user navigate.

Why Our Eyes Multitask Even If We Try to Focus   Epoch Times - March 26, 2015
Even when we need to focus on just one dimension of an object - such as color, texture, or luminance - our eyes just can't help focusing on several, say researchers. The study points to the ability of our visual system to integrate multiple components of an item while underscoring the difficulty we have in focusing on a particular aspect of it. Our eyes want to survey several features at once. Our ability to combine dimensions to improve object identification prevents us from ignoring a dimension when that is what our task requires.

Shape of eye's 'light pipes' is key to color sorting   BBC - March 6, 2015
Physicists have pinned down precisely how pipe-shaped cells in our retina filter the incoming colors. These cells, which sit in front of the ones that actually sense light, play a major role in our color vision that was only recently confirmed. They funnel crucial red and green light into cone cells, leaving blue to spill over and be sensed by rod cells - which are responsible for our night vision. Key to this process, researchers now say, is the exact shape of the pipes. The long, thin cells are known as "Muller glia" and they were originally thought to play more of a supporting role in the retina. They clear debris, store energy and generally keep the conditions right for other cells - like the rods and cones behind them - to turn light into electrical signals for the brain.

An end to the medicine dropper for eye injuries?   PhysOrg - February 4, 2015
For years, treating scratches and burns to the eyes has usually involved dropping medicine onto the eyes several times a day, sometimes for weeksŃa treatment that lends itself to missed doses and other side effects. But scientists are now reporting in the journal ACS Nano a novel, drug-releasing wafer that patients can put directly on their affected eyes just once a day. The team says the device works better than drops and could help patients recover faster.

Ancient Eye Cells Suggest Color Vision Is 300 Million Years Old   Live Science - December 23, 2014
Fossilized rod and cone cells - the kinds that help people see - have been discovered for the first time, researchers say. The finding reveals that such eye cells have existed for at least 300 million years, and that the ancient fish they were discovered in likely saw in color, according to the study's scientists. Human vision depends on pigments that absorb light. These pigments lie inside cells known as rods and cones. Cones are sensitive to color and also help perceive fine detail and rapid changes. Rods are more sensitive to light than cones, but are not sensitive to color, and are responsible for peripheral and night vision. Both rods and cones are found in a layer of tissue in the back of the eye known as the retina.

Human eye can see 'invisible' infrared light   Science Daily - December 3, 2014
Science textbooks say we canÕt see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are longer than the light waves in the visual spectrum. But an international team of researchers has found that under certain conditions, the retina can sense infrared light after all.

The Man Who Grew Eyes: Latest in Stem-Cell Research   Epoch Times - August 31, 2014
Growing nerve tissue and organs is a sci-fi dream. Moheb Costandi met the pioneering researcher who grew eyes and brain cells.

Visual processes 'critical for sharp mind'   BBC - August 5, 2014
Scientists say they have uncovered a basic process that may help explain why some people's thinking skills decline with age. Research indicates as individuals begin to have difficulties interpreting simple images, their overall intelligence falls too. Psychologists suggest this ability to glean information at a glance may play a critical role in how we deal with more complex tasks.

Scientists use stem cells to regenerate human corneas   BBC - July 3, 2014
Scientists have developed a new technique to regrow human corneas. Using key tracer molecules, researchers have been able to hunt down elusive cells in the eye capable of regeneration and repair.

Rates of blindness and partial sight have plummeted in developed world   Science Daily - March 26, 2014
Rates of blindness and impaired eyesight have plummeted over the past 20 years in the developed world. But macular degeneration has replaced cataract as the leading cause of blindness in rich countries, reveals an analysis of the available.

Electrical Burn Causes Man's Star-Shaped Cataract   Live Science - January 23, 2014
A 42-year old electrician in California developed star-shaped cataracts in his eyes after a serious work-related accident caused electricity to run through his body, according to a new report of the case. The man's left shoulder came into contact with 14,000 volts of electricity, and an electric current passed through his entire body, including the optic nerve - the nerve that connects the back of the eye to the brain. Four months after the accident, the man had surgery to remove the cataracts and implant a new lens, and his vision improved slightly after the operation, Korn said. But the damage to his optic nerve still limited the man's sight, Korn said. Korn explained that the eye is like a camera: if the lens is damaged, it can be replaced with a new one, but if the "film" - in this case, the optic nerve and retina - is damaged, "then you'll never get a good picture," Korn said.

  Gene therapy 'could be used to treat blindness'   BBC - January 16, 2014
Surgeons in Oxford have used a gene therapy technique to improve the vision of six patients who would otherwise have gone blind.

Study With Totally Blind People Shows How Light Helps Activate the Brain   Science Daily - October 29, 2013
Light enhances brain activity during a cognitive task even in some people who are totally blind. The brain responded significantly to light in these rare three completely blind patients despite having absolutely no conscious vision at all.

Sjogren's Syndrome May Be Sparked by Killer Immune Cells   Live Science - July 25, 2013
A rare condition called Sjogren's syndrome, which causes severely dry mouth and dry eyes, may stem from the improper function of immune cells called natural killer cells, a new study suggests. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, a condition in which the immune system attacks a person's own tissues. In patients with Sjogren's syndrome, the immune system attacks the glands that make tears and saliva.

How well can you see with your ears? Device offers new alternative to blind people   PhysOrg - July 8, 2013
A device that trains the brain to turn sounds into images could be used as an alternative to invasive treatment for blind and partially-sighted people, researchers at the University of Bath have found. The vOICe sensory substitution device is a revolutionary tool that helps blind people to use sounds to build an image in their minds of the things around them.

Easy and Effective Therapy to Restore Sight: Engineered Virus Will Improve Gene Therapy for Blinding Eye Diseases   Science Daily - June 12, 2013
Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an easier and more effective method for inserting genes into eye cells that could greatly expand gene therapy to help restore sight to patients with blinding diseases ranging from inherited defects like retinitis pigmentosa to degenerative illnesses of old age, such as macular degeneration. Unlike current treatments, the new procedure is quick and surgically non-invasive, and it delivers normal genes to hard-to-reach cells throughout the entire retina. Over the last six years, several groups have successfully treated people with a rare inherited eye disease by injecting a virus with a normal gene directly into the retina of an eye with a defective gene. Despite the invasive process, the virus with the normal gene was not capable of reaching all the retinal cells that needed fixing.

Activating the 'Mind's Eye': Alternative Vision Using Sounds   Science Daily - November 8, 2012
Common wisdom has it that if the visual cortex in the brain is deprived of visual information in early infanthood, it may never develop properly its functional specialization, making sight restoration later in life almost impossible. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in France have now shown that blind people -- using specialized photographic and sound equipment -- can actually "see" and describe objects and even identify letters and words.

Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight   BBC - May14, 2012
A retinal implant - or bionic eye - which is powered by light has been invented by scientists at Stanford University in California. Implants currently used in patients need to be powered by a battery. The new device, described in the journal Nature Photonics, uses a special pair of glasses to beam near infrared light into the eye. This powers the implant and sends the information which could help a patient see.

New-age prosthetic technique enables blind mice to see   PhysOrg - December 23, 2011
A recent TEDMED talk has scientists interested in a presenter's novel techniques to help the blind. A device with two parts, encoder and transducer, can do the job. Sheila Nirenberg, a neuroscientist and professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, recently discussed the results of her work at TEDMED on how the brain takes external information and encodes it in patterns of electrical activity. She set out to describe what her team found in exploring how the retina communicates with the brain.

Can humans sense the Earth's magnetism?   PhysOrg - June 21, 2011
For migratory birds and sea turtles, the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field is crucial to navigating the long-distance voyages these animals undertake during migration. Humans, however, are widely assumed not to have an innate magnetic sense.

Humans May Have 'Magnetic' Sixth Sense   Live Science - June 21, 2011
Humans may have a sixth sense after all, suggests a new study finding that a protein in the human retina, when placed into fruit flies, has the ability to detect magnetic fields.

Human eye protein senses Earth's magnetism   BBC - June 21, 2011
A light-sensitive protein in the human eye has been shown to act as a "compass" in a magnetic field, when it is present in flies' eyes.

Historic First Images of Rod Photoreceptors in the Living Human Eye   Science Daily - June 10, 2011
Scientists have just reported that the tiny light-sensing cells known as rods have been clearly and directly imaged in the living eye for the first time. Using adaptive optics (AO), the same technology astronomers use to study distant stars and galaxies, scientists can see through the murky distortion of the outer eye, revealing the eye's cellular structure with unprecedented detail. This innovation, described in two papers in the Optical Society's (OSA) open access journal Biomedical Optics Express, will help doctors diagnose degenerative eye disorders sooner, leading to quicker intervention and more effective treatments.

Study reveals how the eye is formed   PhysOrg - April 6, 2011
These findings significantly enhance understanding of how the different components of the eye are organized into a functional organ, and therefore reveal clues as to the possible causes of congenital malformations that lead to life-long visual impairment.

New Genes Involved in Human Eye Color Identified   Science Daily - May 7, 2010
Three new genetic loci have been identified with involvement in subtle and quantitative variation of human eye color.

Additional genes associated with age-related macular degeneration identified   PhysOrg - April 12, 2010
A large genetic study of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has identified three new genes associated with this blinding eye disease - two involved in the cholesterol pathway. Results of this large-scale collaborative study, supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, were published online April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Myopia appears to have become more common   PhysOrg - December 14, 2009
Myopia (nearsightedness) may have been more common in Americans from 1999 to 2004 than it was 30 years ago.

Blindness Causes Structural Brain Changes, Implying Brain Can Re-Organize Itself to Adapt   Science Daily - November 19, 2009
Visually impaired people appear to be fearless, navigating busy sidewalks and crosswalks, safely finding their way using nothing more than a cane as a guide. The reason they can do this, researchers suggest, is that in at least some circumstances, blindness can heighten other senses, helping individuals adapt.

  Giving Sight by Therapy With Genes   New York Times - November 2, 2009

Physicists Explain How Human Eyes Can Detect Quantum Effects   PhysOrg - September 30, 2009
By greatly amplifying one photon from an entangled photon pair, physicists have theoretically shown that human eyes can be used as detectors to observe quantum effects. Usually, detecting quantum phenomena requires sensitive photon detectors or similar technology, keeping the quantum world far removed from our everyday experience. By showing that it's possible to perform quantum optics experiments with human eyes as detectors, the physicists can bring quantum phenomena closer to the macroscopic level and to everyday life.

Out of darkness, sight: How the brain learns to see   PhysOrg - September 17, 2009
Cases of restored vision after a lifetime of blindness, though exceedingly rare, provide a unique opportunity to address several fundamental questions regarding brain function. After being deprived of visual input, the brain needs to learn to make sense of the new flood of visual information. Very little is known about how this learning takes place, but a new study by MIT neuroscientists suggests that dynamic information -- that is, input from moving objects -- is critical.

Implanted tooth helps blind US woman recover sight   PhysOrg - September 16, 2009
A 60-year-old US grandmother, blind for nearly a decade, has recovered her sight after surgeons implanted a tooth in her eye as a base to hold a tiny plastic lens. For patients whose bodies reject a transplanted or artificial cornea, this procedure "implants the patient's tooth in the eye to anchor a prosthetic lens and restore vision.

Color-blindness Cured by Gene Injection in Monkeys   National Geographic - September 16, 2009
A simple injection of cells has cured monkeys of color-blindness giving a green light to future research into improving human vision with gene therapy, a new study says. Calling the procedure his gene therapy "dream," researcher Jay Neitz said that "ultimately this could be a tool that could cure all sorts of eye diseases."

Eyes see trouble coming before brain notices   New Scientist - September 6, 2009
Not just a window to the soul, the eye has a few tricks of its own. Newly discovered eye cells can warn us that an object is coming nearer, and do so without the brain's help. This ability may have evolved to speed escape from predators. Neurons that fire in response to horizontal and vertical movements had already been found in the retinas of mammals, but the only cells known to be sensitive to approaching objects were in the brain.

Device Lets the Tongue See   Live Science - August 27, 2009
The Wicab BrainPort is a device that takes information gathered by a small digital camera in a pair of glasses and sends it to a "lollipop" electrode array that sits on your tongue. The device was designed to help people who are blind or who have extremely low vision. The camera in the glasses transmits the light information to a small base unit the size of a cell phone, an article at Scientific American explains. The base unit converts the light information into electrical impulses; this replaces the function of the retina. The retina is the surface at the back of the eye that encodes light into nerve impulses and transmits them to the brain.

Scientists Program Blood Stem Cells To Become Vision Cells   PhysOrg - August 3, 2009
University of Florida researchers were able to program bone marrow stem cells to repair damaged retinas in mice, suggesting a potential treatment for one of the most common causes of vision loss in older people.

Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound, Study Says   National Geographic - July 6, 2009
With just a click of the tongue, anyone can learn to "see" with their ears, according to a new study of human echolocation. Several animals, such as bats, dolphins, whales, and some shrews, are known to use echolocation sound waves bounced off nearby objects to sense what's around them.

  What you see affects what you hear   PhysOrg - March 4, 2009
New research shows that the visual information you absorb when you see can improve your understanding of the spoken words by as much as sixfold. In experiments, videos of individuals were shown in which a person said a word. If the person is presented normally, the visual information provides a great benefit when it is integrated with the auditory information, especially when there is moderate background noise. Surprisingly, if the person is just a "cartoon" that does not truly mouth the word, then the visual information is still helpful, though not as much.

  Bionic eye gives blind man sight   BBC - March 4, 2009
A man who lost his sight 30 years ago says he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye. Ron, 73, had the experimental surgery seven months ago.

Vision Explained: Scientists Finally Capture Elusive Signaling Device Our Retinas Use To Tell Us What We See   Science Daily - February 2, 2009
Scientists have known for more than 200 years that vision begins with a series of chemical reactions when light strikes the retina, but the specific chemical processes have largely been a mystery. A team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland have shed new light on this process by "capturing" this chemical communication for future study.

Vision Loss Treatment For Age-related Macular Degeneration Looks Hopeful Science Daily - February 21, 2008
Scientists have won a major battle in the fight against age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a blinding eye disease that affects millions of people. An international team, led by researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Universitˇ de Montrˇal, has identified the deficient receptor that causes the dry form of AMD. As AMD gets worse, a person may see a blurred or blank spot in the centre of vision or notice a gradual decline in their ability to see fine print. People with dry AMD may have difficulty recognizing faces or may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, yet vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected.

Macular Degeneration Wikipedia

New Contact Lenses Go Bionic Live Science - January 19, 2008

For the first time, engineers have installed an electronic circuit and lights on a regular contact lens. The prototype they created does not actually light up or display information. But it proves that it is possible to build an electronic lens that is safe to wear and doesn't obstruct vision. Scientists have taken the first step toward creating digital contact lenses that can zoom in on distant objects and display useful facts.

Genetics of eye color unlocked BBC - December 20, 2006
Scientists have made a breakthrough in their understanding of the genetics behind human eye color. They found that just a few "letters" out of the six billion that make up the genetic code are responsible for most of the variation in human eye color.

Scientists prove blind people can 'see' with sixth sense - November 1, 2005
The uncanny ability of blind people to "sense" unseen objects has been demonstrated for the first time in sighted volunteers whose vision was blanked out by scientists. The findings suggest "blindsight", which has been observed in blind people whose eyes function normally but who have suffered damage to the brain's visual centre, is a real and not imagined phenomenon. In tests, the blind have been able to distinguish basic shapes of objects they cannot see, as well as their orientation and direction of motion. On other occasions a blind person has reported experiencing a "feeling" that an object is present, while not being able to see it. A number of theories have been proposed to explain "blindsight". Generally, it is suggested that other parts of the brain besides the primary visual cortex respond to nerve messages from the eyes at an unconscious level.

Erotic images, gore cause temporary "blindness" PhysOrg - August 11, 2005
If your partner seems to be ignoring you after a flash of nudity on the television screen, it might not be his or her fault. New research indicates that people shown erotic or gory images frequently fail to process what they see immediately afterwards.

How the Brain Learns to See PhysOrg - June 9, 2005
Most of us don't have much trouble recognizing what we see. Whether it is a face in a crowd, a bird in a tree, or papers on a desk, our brains expertly distinguish the target from the clutter. It is a simple skill most of us take for granted, but object recognition is not hard-wired. As we navigate our environment, the brain's visual centers continually reorganize themselves, classify novel features, and learn to pick out important objects from the background. Just how the human brain does this is not well understood, but new research by Zoe Kourtzi and colleagues may have uncovered some important clues.

The Mystery Of Eye Evolution Science Daily - November 1, 2004
When Darwin's skeptics attack his theory of evolution, they often focus on the eye. Darwin himself confessed that it was "absurd" to propose that the human eye evolved through spontaneous mutation and natural selection. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have now tackled Darwin's major challenge in an evolutionary study published this week in the journal Science. They have elucidated the evolutionary origin of the human eye.

The Genetics Of Blindness Science Daily - October 9, 2003
Treatment for the most common inherited cause of blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, is one step closer. Approximately 1.5 million people worldwide are affected by retinitis pigmentosa, which at the moment has no cure. This disease causes vision loss by progressive degeneration and death of the cells that make up the retina, the portion of the eye that responds to light.

Blind 'see with sound' BBC - October 7, 2003

Michelle Thomas is learning to "see", not with her eyes but her ears. Now she can also use a mobile camera phone to do it. Blind since birth, Ms Thomas is able to recognize the walls and doors of her house, discern whether the lights are on or off and even distinguish a CD from a floppy disk after only a week using a revolutionary new system. She is "seeing with sound". Developed by Dr Peter Meijer, a senior scientist at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands, the system is called The vOICe (the three middle letters standing for "Oh I See"). It works by translating images from a camera on-the-fly into highly complex soundscapes, which are then transmitted to the user over headphones.

Eye Movement Studies To Help Diagnose Mental Illness Science Daily - June 18, 2003

Irregularities in how the eyes track a moving object reflect defects in the neural circuitry of the brain and appear to correspond with particular types of mental disorders. Schizophrenic patients, for example, have difficulty keeping their eyes focused on slow-moving objects. With new technology, these abnormalities can be measured precisely and compared with normal patterns.

The Human Eye Can Self-correct Some Optical Faults Science Daily - February 18, 2003
A neurobiology study at Cornell University suggests that internal parts of the eye indeed can compensate for less-than-perfect conditions in other parts - either developmentally (during the lifetime of one individual) or genetically (over many generations).

Futuristic System Brings Vision To Blind Science Daily - June 14, 2002
A Saint Louis University neurosurgeon has become the first U.S. doctor to implant a potentially revolutionary electronic eye device that allows a blind patient to see. He is the only United States doctor ever to perform the procedure. Patients don't have "normal" vision." Instead, they see white flashes of light that resemble stars on a black background, and learn to interpret the patterns so they can gain mobility. By putting an array of electrodes in the brain, patients see a pattern of white spots that they could learn to interpret well enough to get some useful vision