The human eyes clean themselves, a new study says – in lab mice so far, but odds say that it is the same in humans. And if so, then it might give glaucoma cure a chance. The research has been published in Science Translational Medicine.
The body cleanses itself with the help of the lymphatic system. The bran has its own cleaning system called the glymphatic system. The mice’s eyes have a separate cleaning system, researchers have found. This system is similar to the glymphatic system, working like a network that takes the rubbish to the lymphatic system.
Since the glymphatic system was first discovered in mice, researchers thought that mice might help yet once again find something about our species. And they did, as it would be expected given the similarities mice and humans share.
The brains use the process of clearing itself to get rid of the amyloid-beta proteins. This made the researchers injected the mice’s eyes with the protein but fluorescently labeled version so that it becomes traceable and see what goes on.
Human Eyes Clean Their Impurities As The Brain Does
The protein was captured by the optic nerve and in a few hours, it landed in the body dumpster, the lymphatic system, more precisely into the lymph nodes in the neck of the rodents. “Our analysis provides the evidence for the existence of a highly polarized ocular clearance system that might have implications for our understanding of eye health and disease,” the study says.
The glymphatic system, as it should, works at night, during sleep. The eye’s version has something to do with the presence of light since it kicks in when the eye is adjusting to light changes.
Since glaucoma is basically excess fluid build-up, chances are that it is caused by the impairment of this cleaning system. If it is so, then this research will prove to be an important medical breakthrough.
“This represents only the starting point for further investigations on the impact of the ocular glymphatic system on the pathogenesis of several ocular diseases,” said Peter Wostyn, a physician from the Psychiatrisch Centrum Sint-Amandus in Belgium who wasn’t involved in the study, talking about how human eyes clean themselves.