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Mathematical Analysis of Photoreceptor Degeneration in Retinal Detachment

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The retina is the lining in the back of the eye responsible for vision. When light photons hits the retina, the photoreceptors within the retina respond by sending impulses to

The retina is the lining in the back of the eye responsible for vision. When light photons hits the retina, the photoreceptors within the retina respond by sending impulses to the optic nerve, which connects to the brain. If there is injury to the eye or heredity retinal problems, this part can become detached. Detachment leads to loss of nutrients, such as oxygen and glucose, to the cells in the eye and causes cell death. Sometimes the retina is able to be surgically reattached. If the photoreceptor cells have not died and the reattachment is successful, then these cells are able to regenerate their outer segments (OS) which are essential for their functionality and vitality. In this work we will explore how the regrowth of the photoreceptor cells in a healthy eye after retinal detachment can lead to a deeper understanding of how eye cells take up nutrients and regenerate. This work uses a mathematical model for a healthy eye in conjunction with data for photoreceptors' regrowth and decay. The parameters for the healthy eye model are estimated from the data and the ranges of these parameter values are centered +/- 10\% away from these values are used for sensitivity analysis. Using parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis we can better understand how certain processes represented by these parameters change within the model as a result of retinal detachment. Having a deeper understanding for any sort of photoreceptor death and growth can be used by the greater scientific community to help with these currently irreversible conditions that lead to blindness, such as retinal detachment. The analysis in this work shows that maximizing the carrying capacity of the trophic pool and the rate of RDCVF, as well as minimizing nutrient withdrawal of the rods and the cones from the trophic pool results in both the most regrowth and least cell death in retinal detachment.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05