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Steve Feldon; The Optic Neuropathies - Sight Unseen. Journal of Vision 2012;12(14):24. doi: 10.1167/12.14.24.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The optic nerve differs from almost all other cranial nerves in two important ways. First, the optic nerve is an extension of brain tissue rather than a peripheral nerve. Second, it is the only cranial nerve amenable to direct observation in a clinical setting. Thus, optic nerve disease provides an opportunity to directly study human diseases of the central nervous system at the tissue and cellular levels. Currently available techniques for visualizing the optic disc, retinal nerve fiber layer, and optic nerve include standard stereo photomicroscopy, ocular coherence tomography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, and adaptive optics modifications of these instruments. Magnetic resonance imaging, both structural and functional, is also important. The future may hold even more promise for in vivo studies with development of cellular and subcellular techniques such as two photon confocal imaging, photoacoustic imaging, and functional molecular imaging. Perhaps the prototypical neurodegenerative amenable for study is demyelination in diseases such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica. However, there is the opportunity to study other diseases affecting the brain, as well. These include Alzheimer 's disease, traumatic brain injury, neurotoxicity, genetic mutations, and ischemic damage. With a review of the clinical and pathological changes in the optic nerve, the stage is set for developing and testing new clinical investigative imaging techniques to study neurodegenerative disease manifestation in the living eye.
Meeting abstract presented at OSA Fall Vision 2012
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