Jurre Blom's profile

Glaucoma Illustrations

Glaucoma Illustrations
Some time ago I had the opportunity to help visualize some research that is being done on glaucoma by the University Eye Clinic in Maastricht.
Overview of the eye and optic nerve to the brain (with zoomed in retina)
Someone suffering from glaucoma starts losing eyesight gradually from an increase in pressure in the eye that eventually damages the optic nerve.
Pressure on the optic nerve head
The idea is that the increased pressure in the eye puts the Retinal Ganglion Cells (RGCs) under a lot of stress and eventually kills them, which leads to hollowing out or 'cupping' of the optic nerve head and a decrease of signals from the retina: loss of eyesight.
Eye pressure resulting in Retinal Ganglion Cell death
Researchers know that the pressure in the eye plays a role in the damaging of the optic nerve, but how exactly this damage occurs is less clear. So to test what actually happens, the researchers at the University Eye Clinic built a setup to test what different kinds of stresses actually do to a Retinal Ganglion Cell: a RGC is placed on a special culture unit on top of a membrane that can be stretched in different directions.
Culture unit preparation
Little channels that run through the device that the culture unit is on, make it possible to create a vacuum under the membrane which stretches it together with the placed RGCs. In real-time this stretch and release happens very rapidly.
Culture unit stretching and releasing with the RGC
All kinds of shapes and sizes of culture units are put on the device, which makes it possible to simulate many different types of pressure on the RGCs.
3D model of a part of a single culture unit with more realistic proportions
From the single culture unit part to the full device with a hundred different culture units
Glaucoma Illustrations


Glaucoma Illustrations

Scientific illustration project for research on glaucoma