Image of cells

Vision Loss and Blindness

Vision begins in the retina of the eye, where neurons detect brightness, color, contrast, motion in the outside world. As visual information is relayed to more and more complex areas of the brain, features of the visual scene become more sophisticated and give rise to visual perception and misperception, like visual illusions.

In diseases like age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma, neurons in the retina die, resulting in vision loss and eventually, blindness. Understanding how neurons normally function in the visual system is critical for understanding how to best preserve and restore visual function.

Questions we are asking include:

  • How do rod and cone photoreceptors signal light in dim and bright light?
  • How do retinal circuits perform their computations?
  • How does retinal degeneration activate the immune system, and how does controlling the immune system affect degeneration?
  • Why do retinal ganglion cells die in glaucoma?
  • What causes age-related macular degeneration?
  • How does information from the retina get processed in visual cortex?
  • How do other sensory modalities like hearing become integrated with our visual perception?
  • How does attention affect the way we see things?

Faculty studying vision loss and blindness