• Objective Assessment of Retinal Ganglion Cell Function in Glaucoma

      Joshi, Nabin (2017-09-25)
      Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases causing progressive degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells. It is a clinical diagnosis based on the evidence of structural damage of the optic nerve head with corresponding visual field loss. Structural damage is assessed by visualization of the optic nerve head (ONH) through various imaging and observational techniques, while the behavioral loss of sensitivity is assessed with an automated perimeter. However, given the subjective nature of visual field assessment in patients, visual function examination suffers from high variability as well as patient and operator- related biases. To overcome these drawbacks, past research has focused on the use of objective methods of quantifying retinal function in patients with glaucoma such as electroretinograms, visually evoked potentials, pupillometry etc. Electroretinograms are objective, non-invasive method of assessing retinal function, and careful manipulation of the visual input or stimulus can result in extraction of signals particular to select classes of the retinal cells, and photopic negative response (PhNR) is a component of ERG that reflects primarily the retinal ganglion cell function. On the other hand, pupillary response to light, measured objectively with a pupillometer, also indicates the functional state of the retina and the pupillary pathway. Hence, the study of both ERGs and pupillary response to light provide an objective avenue of research towards understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in glaucoma, possibly affecting the clinical care of the patients in the long run.
    • Objective assessment of visual dysfunction in the acquired brain injury (ABI) population using the visual-evoked potential (VEP)

      Yadav, Naveen K. (2014-07-09)
      Purpose: To assess quantitatively and objectively selected visual dysfunctions in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) (i.e., increased abnormal visual motion sensitivity (VMS), attentional deficits) and stroke (i.e., hemianopic visual field defects) by using empirically-derived, optimized pattern visual evoked potential (VEP) parameters derived from our laboratory. Furthermore, the goal was to develop simple and reliable clinical VEP protocols to assess the aforementioned visual dysfunctions in acquired brain injury. Methods: Four experiments were performed binocularly with full refractive correction using an objective, pattern VEP technique. Experiments #1-3 included both visually-normal (VN) adults and adults with mTBI, all ages 18-70 years. Experiment #4 included adult patients with stroke and hemianopic visual field defects, all ages 18-70 years. The following tests and stimulus conditions were used in Experiments #1-4: Experiment #1 – central field VEP with 10, 20, and 40 min arc check sizes at low (20%) and high (85%) contrast levels; Experiment #2 – central field VEP (baseline), binasal occlusion only (BNO), base-in prism (BI) only (4 pd total), and BNO with 4 pd BI; Experiment #3 – central field VEP (eyes open (EO), baseline), eyes-closed (EC, “relaxed”), and eyes-closed number counting (ECNC, “increased attentional state”); Experiment #4 – central field VEP, intact hemi-field only, and hemianopic field only. Results: The followings results were found: Experiment #1 – The 20 min arc check size provided the largest VEP amplitude and normative latency values at both contrast levels in both the VN and mTBI groups. These optimal parameters were then used to measure VEP responses in Experiments #2-4. Experiment #2 – With BNO alone, the VEP amplitude was larger in individuals with mTBI (90%) and smaller in the VN (100%) groups, as compared to other two test conditions and baseline. In addition, with BNO only, those with mTBI demonstrated improvement in their visual impressions and in performing specific sensorimotor tasks. Experiment #3 – Objectively-based alpha attenuation ratio (AR = EC ÷ EO, ECNC ÷ EC) was able to detect, assess, and differentiate between mTBI with versus without an attentional deficits, as well as between VNs. These objective AR findings were correlated with the subjective Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) questionnaire scores. Experiment #4 – The group and individual VEP findings showed that the central field and the intact hemi-field VEP amplitudes were larger than found in the hemianopic field. Moreover, these objective findings were correlated with the subjective clinical perimetric results. Conclusions: The optimized VEP parameters provided quantitative, rapid, reliable, and repeatable responsivity in all experiments. These findings demonstrated that the conventional pattern VEP could be beneficial for researchers in general, as well as clinicians to differentiate between mTBI versus the VN group with a high probability, and also between mTBI with versus without an attentional deficit. In addition, the VEP could be used clinically to detect and assess hemianopic visual field defects in patients with stroke. Based on these findings, the VEP has the potential to be used as an objective visual system biomarker for the diagnosis of mTBI/concussion, and also as an objective adjunct clinical tool to detect visual field defects in patients with stroke.
    • Oculomotor rehabilitation for reading dysfunction in mild traumatic brain injury

      Thiagarajan, Preethi (2013-06-04)
      Abstract: Aim Considering the extensive neural network of the oculomotor subsystems, global damage as a result of traumatic brain injury could compromise precise oculomotor control, thus causing reading dysfunction. The aim of the present thesis was to evaluate comprehensively the effect of oculomotor-based vision rehabilitation in symptomatic individuals with respect to nearwork and reading and having a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). A wide range of laboratory and clinical parameters related to reading involving vergence, accommodation, and version were tested. Methods Twelve subjects with documented mTBI and nearvision-related symptoms participated in the study. A cross-over, interventional experimental design was used involving true “oculomotor” training and “SHAM” training. Each training protocol was performed for 6 weeks, 2 sessions a week, 45 minutes of actual training per session. During each training session, all three oculomotor subsystems (vergence/accommodation/version) were trained for 15 minutes each in a randomized order. All laboratory and clinical parameters were measured before (baseline) and after true oculomotor (post-OMT) and SHAM (post-SHAM) training. In addition, nearvision-related symptoms were assessed using the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS) scale. Lastly, subjective attention was measured using the Visual Search and Attention Test (VSAT). iv Results Following true oculomotor training, there was a marked improvement in various laboratory and clinical parameters assessed. Over 80% of the abnormal parameters found at baseline testing were found to significantly improve with training. Dynamics of vergence and accommodation, along with clinically assessed maximum amplitudes, improved markedly. Versional saccadic eye movements demonstrated improved rhythmicity and accuracy. These results together had a significant positive impact on overall reading ability. The improved reading-related oculomotor behavior was reflected in reduction of symptoms. In addition, subjective attention was found to also improve with true oculomotor training. In contrast, none of the aforementioned parameters changed with SHAM training. Conclusions Oculomotor-based vision rehabilitation had a strong positive effect on reading-related oculomotor control. This oculomotor learning effect is suggestive of intact neuroplasticity mechanisms in a compromised brain following TBI.
    • Roles of Calcium Signaling and Protein Kinase C Activation in Mediating Receptor Control of Corneal Epithelial Renewal

      Zhang, Fan (2007-06-26)
      Epidermal growth factor, EGF, is one of the essential growth factors that stimulates injury-induced corneal epithelial healing rates. Cell signaling contributors mediating this response include capacitative calcium entry (CCE) activation and protein kinase C (PKC) isoform stimulation. This study shows in human corneal epithelial cells, HCEC, that CCE is preferentially activated by the PKC isoforms  and . Moreover such activation requires increases in plasma membrane Ca2+ influx through store-operated channels. Therefore, EGF-induced stimulation of cell proliferation and migration may depend on unique effects mediated by six different PKC isoforms identified in HCEC. TRPV1 is a vanilloid subtype of the transient receptor potential protein superfamily. This isoform is a subunit of a non-selective cation channel mediating downstream responses to heat, low pH, or noxious stimuli. TRPV1 expression has been recently described in some epithelial tissues and induces proinflammatory cytokine release through mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily stimulation. This study describes in HCEC the signaling pathways mediating TRPV1-induced increases in proinflammatory cytokine release. It suggests that epithelial TRPV1 receptor activation by noxious stimuli contributes in-vivo to mounting proinflammatory reactions.