Vision

Researchers writing in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology suggest that incubating retinal cells with vegetable oils induces biochemical and biophysical changes in the cell membrane, which may have a beneficial effect in preventing or slowing the development of retinopathy.

Dysfunction of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells is found in retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness of elderly people in developed countries. 


If you have to have light at night, a new study suggests that the color can make a big difference in how (un)healthy it is - and the answer is counter-intuitive.


Though the color blue is believed to have a calming effect, a study involving hamsters found that blue light had the worst effects on mood-related measures, followed closely by white light. The best? Red.  

Hamsters exposed to red light at night had significantly less evidence of depressive-like symptoms and changes in the brain linked to depression, compared to those that experienced blue or white light. Total darkness is still best.


The visual cortex is a fantastical portion of the brain, and one which is enlarged in our species to the extent that we can use our eyes to make sense of the world around us in amazing detail. We notice colours, shapes, motion, direction, and even three dimensions, allowing the brain to generate a coherent percept of the visual scene. Many primates like ourselves are extremely visual animals, and rely on eyes not only to inform about the world around us, but to warn of impending danger or alert about opportunity.

Far more people are willing to donate their eyes to research than actually are registered to donate, according to a paper in
Current Eye Research.

While demand for tissue remains high, the number of human eyes donated for research declined 28 percent between 1997 and 2004, said Andrew Williams, a third-year Michigan State University College of Human Medicine student.

Of roughly 200 patients with eye diseases surveyed in the study, 90 percent said they were willing to donate their eyes.


A new paper published in
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review and based on a small experiment found that people who are blindfolded employ the same strategy to intercept a running ball carrier as people who can see, which suggests that multiple areas of the brain cooperate to accomplish the task.  Or they do what they learned when they could see.

Either way, chasing down a moving object is not only a matter of sight or of sound, but of mind.


Dopamine, the neurotransmitter celebrity chemical du jour in brain stories, gets invoked a lot because it can make a lot of correlations possible - and that means fun for journalists who either want to highlight the ridiculous or scare you

Like guns? Dopamine. Are you a Democrat? Dopamine. But aside from its 'pleasure chemical' designation, dopamine has lots of roles in the brain. So if a man takes antipsychotic medication, he may lactate as a side effect, because those medications focus on dopamine. And if there is an addiction story, dopamine is invoked.


Visually impaired individuals and people with uncorrected refractive error, those who could benefit from glasses to achieve normal vision but don't wear glasses, have a significantly greater risk of diminished balance with their eyes closed on a compliant, foam surface than individuals with normal vision.

The research suggests that vision may play an important role in calibrating the vestibular system, which includes the bones and soft tissue of the inner ear, to help optimize physical balance. The work provides direction for more targeted studies on how poor vision impacts vestibular balance, and how to better develop fall prevention strategies for those with poor vision.


The drug aflibercept, under the trade name Eylea, has been approved in Germany since November 2012 for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products (AMNOG), the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined whether this new drug offers an added benefit over the current standard therapy. Such an added benefit cannot be derived from the dossier, since the manufacturer did not submit data for the comparison, says the advocacy group in Germany.


A new paper suggests women can remember faces better than men, in part because they spend more time studying features - without even knowing it.


Rats move their eyes in opposite directions in both the horizontal and the vertical plane when running around. Each eye moves in a different direction, depending on the change in the animal’s head position,  according to a behavioral tracking study that used miniaturized high-speed cameras.

Like many mammals, rats have their eyes on the sides of their heads. This gives them a very wide visual field, useful for detection of predators. However, three-dimensional vision requires overlap of the visual fields of the two eyes. Thus, the visual system of these animals needs to meet two conflicting demands at the same time; on the one hand maximum surveillance and on the other hand detailed binocular vision.