Physics puts new lens on major eye disease

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | June 29, 2012

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Choroidal neovascularization vision loss changes the scene on the left into the one on the right.

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It’s not easy for a theoretical physicist and an ophthalmologist to see eye-to-eye. But a collaboration between the two at Emory University proved worth the effort, sparking a new insight into the leading cause of blindness in adults.

The discovery, which ultimately involved seven scientists and four different institutions, was recently published by Public Library of Science (PLoS) Computational Biology.

“We looked at a problem from different angles, and came up with a whole new way of seeing choroidal neovascularization – a major eye disease,” says Hans Grossniklaus, a clinical ophthalmologist who is the F. Phinizy Calhoun Jr. Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Pathology at Emory’s School of Medicine.

Their results include the first biophysical computer model of how choroidal neovascularization (CNV) develops. “We can use this model to test new drugs at specific sites and stages during the progression of CNV, which could lead to more effective treatments,” says Fereydoon Family, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Physics at Emory.

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