DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University Medical Center researchers have shed new light on the process of hereditary retinal degeneration by demonstrating for the first time how the death of rod cells in the retina ultimately leads to the demise of cone cells, another retinal cell type. Not only do these results help researchers better understand a disorder that ultimately leads to blindness, but the chain of events described is an elegant demonstration of how the body naturally compensates when one of its functions is compromised, said lead researcher Fulton Wong, research director of the Duke University Eye Center. Wong studies retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a broad spectrum of hereditary eye disorders that typically begin with the early loss of "night vision," progressing to blindness over many years. RP is marked by the gradual degeneration of the specialized photoreceptor cells that line the retina along the back of the eye. These cells, better known as rods and cones, translate light that enters the eye into nerve impulses that travel to the brain for interpretation
The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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