Welcome to the Ou Lab!
Glaucoma is a degenerative optic neuropathy characterized by a gradual loss of peripheral vision that may go undetected until the disease is at a very advanced stage and involves central vision. The underlying cause of vision loss and disability in glaucoma is the progressive death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Once RGC death occurs, the visual field loss incurred is irreversible, and continuation of the disease process can lead to blindness.
We are interested in understanding the earliest steps of ganglion cell degeneration, and whether there are particular ganglion cell types and circuits that may be more vulnerable in glaucoma. Although we know that these RGCs are injured in glaucoma, we do not yet understand the steps between ganglion cell injury and death, nor do we know how other cell types in the retina are affected by elevated intraocular pressure. A detailed understanding of the earliest changes that occur will allow us to design treatments that can rescue RGCs before irreversible cell death occurs.