Investigating mechanisms involved in retinal signalling in health and disease through detailed in vivo human electrophysiological investigation


  • Dr Omar Mahroo

    University College London

Project summary

The retina is the structure at the back of the eye that changes light into electrical signals. These signals travel to the brain allowing us to see. Short-sightedness is driven by abnormal signals in the retina, it is becoming more common and it can have complications that cause blindness. Although technology allows us to see single cells in the eye, it has not been easy to measure retinal electrical function. This project will address this.

We will make safe, non-invasive recordings of retinal electrical responses from large numbers of patients with retinal diseases and thousands of twin volunteers. This will help us understand how the retina works and why alterations in retinal function cause blindness or short-sightedness, opening the door to new approaches for developing treatments. As the retina has similarities with the brain, this can also help us understand some brain diseases.

We are testing new treatments that use gene and stem cell therapies to try to restore function to parts of the retina. This project will provide new ways of precisely measuring retinal function, so we know whether these treatments work.