New insight on how people with retinal degenerative disease can maintain their night vision for a relatively long period of time has been published today in the open-access eLife journal.
The study in mice suggests that second-order neurons in the retina, which relay visual signals to the retinal ganglion cells that project into the brain, maintain their activity in response to photoreceptor degeneration to resist visual decline — a process known as homeostatic plasticity. Rod photoreceptors are the cells responsible for the most sensitive aspects of our vision, allowing us to see at night, but can be lost during retinal degenerative disease.
The new findings pave the way for further research to understand how our eyes and other sensory systems respond and adapt to potentially compromising changes throughout life.
“Neuronal plasticity of the inner retina has previously been seen to occur in response to photoreceptor degeneration, but this process has