Cortical (cerebral) visual impairment (CVI) is characterized by visual dysfunction associated with damage to the optic radiations and/or visual cortex. Typically it results from pre- or perinatal hypoxic damage to postchiasmal visual structures and pathways. The neuroanatomical basis of this condition remains poorly understood, particularly with regard to how the resulting maldevelopment of visual processing pathways relates to observations in the clinical setting. We report our investigation of 2 young adults diagnosed with CVI and visual dysfunction characterized by difficulties related to visually guided attention and visuospatial processing. Using high-angular-resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI), we characterized and compared their individual white matter projections of the extrageniculo-striate visual system with a normal-sighted control. Compared to a sighted control, both CVI cases revealed a striking reduction in association fibers, including the inferior frontal-occipital fasciculus as well as superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi. This reduction in fibers associated with the major pathways implicated in visual processing may provide a neuroanatomical basis for the visual dysfunctions observed in these patients.
BACKGROUND: Deterministic diffusion tractography obtained from high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) requires user-defined quantitative anisotropy (QA) thresholds. Most studies employ a common threshold across all subjects even though there is a strong degree of individual variation within groups. We sought to explore whether it would be beneficial to use individual thresholds in order to accommodate individual variance. To do this, we conducted two independent experiments. METHOD: First, tractography of the arcuate fasciculus and network connectivity measures were examined in a sample of 14 healthy participants. Second, we assessed the effects of QA threshold on group differences in network connectivity measures between healthy young (n=19) and old (n=14) individuals. RESULTS: The results of both experiments were significantly influenced by QA threshold. Common thresholds set too high failed to produce sufficient reconstructions in most subjects, thus decreasing the likelihood of detecting meaningful group differences. On the other hand, common thresholds set too low resulted in spurious reconstructions, providing deleterious results. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: Subject specific thresholds acquired using our QA threshold selection method (QATS) appeared to provide the most meaningful networks while ensuring that data from all subjects contributed to the analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results support the use of a subject-specific threshold to ensure that data from all subjects are included in the analyses being conducted.
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are associated with widespread changes in brain structure and function, as indicated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometry and 18-fluorodeoxyglucose position emission tomography (FDG PET) metabolism. Nevertheless, the ability to differentiate between AD, MCI and normal aging groups can be difficult. Thus, the goal of this study was to identify the combination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, MRI morphometry, FDG PET metabolism and neuropsychological test scores to that best differentiate between a sample of normal aging subjects and those with MCI and AD from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The secondary goal was to determine the neuroimaging variables from MRI, FDG PET and CSF biomarkers that can predict future cognitive decline within each group. To achieve these aims, a series of multivariate stepwise logistic and linear regression models were generated. Combining all neuroimaging modalities and cognitive test scores significantly improved the index of discrimination, especially at the earliest stages of the disease, whereas MRI gray matter morphometry variables best predicted future cognitive decline compared to other neuroimaging variables. Overall these findings demonstrate that a multimodal approach using MRI morphometry, FDG PET metabolism, neuropsychological test scores and CSF biomarkers may provide significantly better discrimination than any modality alone.
Growing evidence demonstrates dramatic structural and functional neuroplastic changes in individuals born with early-onset blindness. For example, cross-modal sensory processing at the level of the occipital cortex appears to be associated with adaptive behaviors in the blind. However, detailed studies examining the structural properties of key white matter pathways in other regions of the brain remain limited. Given that blind individuals rely heavily on their sense of hearing, we examined the structural properties of two important pathways involved with auditory processing, namely the uncinate and arcuate fasciculi. High angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) tractography was used to examine structural parameters (i.e., tract volume and quantitative anisotropy, or QA) of these two fasciculi in a sample of 13 early blind individuals and 14 normally sighted controls. Compared to controls, early blind individuals showed a significant increase in the volume of the left uncinate fasciculus. A small area of increased QA was also observed halfway along the right arcuate fasciculus in the blind group. These findings contribute to our knowledge regarding the broad neuroplastic changes associated with profound early blindness.
Symmetry is an organizational principle that is ubiquitous throughout the visual world. However, this property can also be detected through non-visual modalities such as touch. The role of prior visual experience on detecting tactile patterns containing symmetry remains unclear. We compared the behavioral performance of early blind and sighted (blindfolded) controls on a tactile symmetry detection task. The tactile patterns used were similar in design and complexity as in previous visual perceptual studies. The neural correlates associated with this behavioral task were identified with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In line with growing evidence demonstrating enhanced tactile processing abilities in the blind, we found that early blind individuals showed significantly superior performance in detecting tactile symmetric patterns compared to sighted controls. Furthermore, comparing patterns of activation between these two groups identified common areas of activation (e.g. superior parietal cortex) but key differences also emerged. In particular, tactile symmetry detection in the early blind was also associated with activation that included peri-calcarine cortex, lateral occipital (LO), and middle temporal (MT) cortex, as well as inferior temporal and fusiform cortex. These results contribute to the growing evidence supporting superior behavioral abilities in the blind, and the neural correlates associated with crossmodal neuroplasticity following visual deprivation.
Dry eye is a common disorder caused by inadequate hydration of the ocular surface that results in disruption of barrier function. The homeostatic protein clusterin (CLU) is prominent at fluid-tissue interfaces throughout the body. CLU levels are reduced at the ocular surface in human inflammatory disorders that manifest as severe dry eye, as well as in a preclinical mouse model for desiccating stress that mimics dry eye. Using this mouse model, we show here that CLU prevents and ameliorates ocular surface barrier disruption by a remarkable sealing mechanism dependent on attainment of a critical all-or-none concentration. When the CLU level drops below the critical all-or-none threshold, the barrier becomes vulnerable to desiccating stress. CLU binds selectively to the ocular surface subjected to desiccating stress in vivo, and in vitro to the galectin LGALS3, a key barrier component. Positioned in this way, CLU not only physically seals the ocular surface barrier, but it also protects the barrier cells and prevents further damage to barrier structure. These findings define a fundamentally new mechanism for ocular surface protection and suggest CLU as a biotherapeutic for dry eye.
PURPOSE: To determine the cumulative worldwide incidence of infectious endophthalmitis and associated vision loss after Boston keratoprosthesis (B-KPro) Type I/II implantation and to propose both safe and inexpensive prophylactic antibiotic regimens. METHODS: Two retrospective methods were used to determine the incidence, visual outcomes and aetiologies of infectious endophthalmitis associated with the B-KPro divided per decade: (i) systematic review of the literature from 1990 through January 2013 and (ii) a surveillance survey sent to all surgeons who implanted B-KPros through 2010 with 1-year minimum follow-up. In addition, a single-Boston surgeon 20-year experience was examined. RESULTS: From 1990 through 2010, there were 4729 B-KPros implanted worldwide by 209 U.S. surgeons and 159 international surgeons. The endophthalmitis cumulative mean incidence declined from 12% during its first decade of use to about 3% during its second decade in the Unites States and about 5% internationally during the second decade. There remains a large incidence range both in the United States (1-12.5%) and internationally (up to 17%). Poor compliance with daily topical antibiotics is an important risk factor. While Gram-positive organisms remained dominant, fungal infections emerged during the second decade. CONCLUSIONS: Daily prophylactic topical antibiotics have dramatically reduced the endophthalmitis incidence. Although Gram-positive organisms are the most common aetiology, antimicrobials must be inclusive of Gram-negative organisms. Selection of prophylactic regimens should be tailored to local antibiotic susceptibility patterns, be cost-effective, and should not promote the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. An example of a broad-spectrum, low-cost prophylactic option for non-autoimmune patients includes trimethoprim/polymyxinB once daily.
Belmonte C, Nichols JJ, Cox SM, Brock JA, Begley CG, Bereiter DA, Dartt DA, Galor A, Hamrah P, Ivanusic JJ, Jacobs DS, McNamara NA, Rosenblatt MI, Stapleton F, Wolffsohn JS. TFOS DEWS II pain and sensation report. Ocul Surf 2017;15(3):404-437.Abstract
Pain associated with mechanical, chemical, and thermal heat stimulation of the ocular surface is mediated by trigeminal ganglion neurons, while cold thermoreceptors detect wetness and reflexly maintain basal tear production and blinking rate. These neurons project into two regions of the trigeminal brain stem nuclear complex: ViVc, activated by changes in the moisture of the ocular surface and VcC1, mediating sensory-discriminative aspects of ocular pain and reflex blinking. ViVc ocular neurons project to brain regions that control lacrimation and spontaneous blinking and to the sensory thalamus. Secretion of the main lacrimal gland is regulated dominantly by autonomic parasympathetic nerves, reflexly activated by eye surface sensory nerves. These also evoke goblet cell secretion through unidentified efferent fibers. Neural pathways involved in the regulation of meibomian gland secretion or mucin release have not been identified. In dry eye disease, reduced tear secretion leads to inflammation and peripheral nerve damage. Inflammation causes sensitization of polymodal and mechano-nociceptor nerve endings and an abnormal increase in cold thermoreceptor activity, altogether evoking dryness sensations and pain. Long-term inflammation and nerve injury alter gene expression of ion channels and receptors at terminals and cell bodies of trigeminal ganglion and brainstem neurons, changing their excitability, connectivity and impulse firing. Perpetuation of molecular, structural and functional disturbances in ocular sensory pathways ultimately leads to dysestesias and neuropathic pain referred to the eye surface. Pain can be assessed with a variety of questionaires while the status of corneal nerves is evaluated with esthesiometry and with in vivo confocal microscopy.
PURPOSE: Mutations in genes encoding proteins from the tri-snRNP complex of the spliceosome account for more than 12% of cases of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). Although the exact mechanism by which splicing factor defects trigger photoreceptor death is not completely clear, their role in retinitis pigmentosa has been demonstrated by several genetic and functional studies. To test for possible novel associations between splicing factors and adRP, we screened four tri-snRNP splicing factor genes (EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2) as candidate disease genes. METHODS: We screened up to 303 patients with adRP from Europe and North America who did not carry known RP mutations. Exon-PCR and Sanger methods were used to sequence the NHP2L1 and AAR2 genes, while the sequences of EFTUD2 and PRPF4 were obtained by using long-range PCRs spanning coding and non-coding regions followed by next-generation sequencing. RESULTS: We detected novel missense changes in individual patients in the sequence of the genes PRPF4 and EFTUD2, but the role of these changes in relationship to disease could not be verified. In one other patient we identified a novel nucleotide substitution in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of NHP2L1, which did not segregate with the disease in the family. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of clearly pathogenic mutations in the candidate genes screened in our cohort suggests that EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2 are either not involved in adRP or are associated with the disease in rare instances, at least as observed in this study in patients of European and North American origin.
Human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnCs) are terminally differentiated cells that have limited regenerative potential. The large numbers of mitochondria in HCEnCs are critical for pump and barrier function required for corneal hydration and transparency. Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) is a highly prevalent late-onset oxidative stress disorder characterized by progressive loss of HCEnCs. We previously reported increased mitochondrial fragmentation and reduced ATP and mtDNA copy number in FECD. Herein, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP)-induced mitochondrial depolarization decreased mitochondrial mass and Mfn2 levels, which were rescued with mitophagy blocker, bafilomycin, in FECD. Moreover, electron transport chain complex (I, V) decrease in FECD indicated deficient mitochondrial bioenergetics. Transmission electron microscopy of FECD tissues displayed an increased number of autophagic vacuoles containing degenerated and swollen mitochondria with cristolysis. An elevation of LC3-II and LAMP1 and downregulation of Mfn2 in mitochondrial fractions suggested that loss of fusion capacity targets fragmented mitochondria to the pre-autophagic pool and upregulates mitophagy. CCCP-induced mitochondrial fragmentation leads to Mfn2 and LC3 co-localization without activation of proteosome, suggesting a novel Mfn2 degradation pathway via mitophagy. These data indicate constitutive activation of mitophagy results in reduction of mitochondrial mass and abrogates cellular bioenergetics during degeneration of post-mitotic cells of ocular tissue.
BACKGROUND: Safety and efficacy have been shown in a phase 1 dose-escalation study involving a unilateral subretinal injection of a recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector containing the RPE65 gene (AAV2-hRPE65v2) in individuals with inherited retinal dystrophy caused by RPE65 mutations. This finding, along with the bilateral nature of the disease and intended use in treatment, prompted us to determine the safety of administration of AAV2-hRPE65v2 to the contralateral eye in patients enrolled in the phase 1 study. METHODS: In this follow-on phase 1 trial, one dose of AAV2-hRPE65v2 (1·5 × 10(11) vector genomes) in a total volume of 300 μL was subretinally injected into the contralateral, previously uninjected, eyes of 11 children and adults (aged 11-46 years at second administration) with inherited retinal dystrophy caused by RPE65 mutations, 1·71-4·58 years after the initial subretinal injection. We assessed safety, immune response, retinal and visual function, functional vision, and activation of the visual cortex from baseline until 3 year follow-up, with observations ongoing. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01208389. FINDINGS: No adverse events related to the AAV were reported, and those related to the procedure were mostly mild (dellen formation in three patients and cataracts in two). One patient developed bacterial endophthalmitis and was excluded from analyses. We noted improvements in efficacy outcomes in most patients without significant immunogenicity. Compared with baseline, pooled analysis of ten participants showed improvements in mean mobility and full-field light sensitivity in the injected eye by day 30 that persisted to year 3 (mobility p=0·0003, white light full-field sensitivity p<0·0001), but no significant change was seen in the previously injected eyes over the same time period (mobility p=0·7398, white light full-field sensitivity p=0·6709). Changes in visual acuity from baseline to year 3 were not significant in pooled analysis in the second eyes or the previously injected eyes (p>0·49 for all time-points compared with baseline). INTERPRETATION: To our knowledge, AAV2-hRPE65v2 is the first successful gene therapy administered to the contralateral eye. The results highlight the use of several outcome measures and help to delineate the variables that contribute to maximal benefit from gene augmentation therapy in this disease. FUNDING: Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Spark Therapeutics, US National Institutes of Health, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, Research to Prevent Blindness, Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics, Mackall Foundation Trust, F M Kirby Foundation, and The Research Foundation-Flanders.
When walking without vision, people mentally keep track of the directions and distances of previously viewed objects, a process called spatial updating. The current experiment indicates that while people across a large age range are able to update multiple targets in memory without perceptual support, aging negatively affects accuracy, precision, and decision time. Participants (20 to 80 years of age) viewed one, three, or six targets (colored lights) on the floor of a dimly lit room. Then, without vision, they walked to a target designated by color, either directly or indirectly (via a forward turning point). The younger adults' final stopping points were both accurate (near target) and precise (narrowly dispersed), but updating performance did degrade slightly with the number of targets. Older adults' performance was consistently worse than the younger group, but the lack of interaction between age and memory load indicates that the effect of age on performance was not further exacerbated by a greater number of targets. The number of targets also significantly increased the latency required to turn toward the designated target for both age groups. Taken together, results extend previous work showing impressive updating performance by younger adults, with novel findings showing that older adults manifest small but consistent degradation of updating performance of multitarget arrays.
The optic nerve has been widely used to investigate factors that regulate axon regeneration in the mammalian CNS. Although retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the projection neurons of the eye, show little capacity to regenerate their axons following optic nerve damage, studies spanning the 20(th) century showed that some RGCs can regenerate axons through a segment of peripheral nerve grafted to the optic nerve. More recently, some degree of regeneration has been achieved through the optic nerve itself by factors associated with intraocular inflammation (oncomodulin) or by altering levels of particular transcription factors (Klf-4, -9, c-myc), cell-intrinsic suppressors of axon growth (PTEN, SOCS3), receptors to cell-extrinsic inhibitors of axon growth (Nogo receptor, LAR, PTP-σ) or the intracellular signaling pathway activated by these receptors (RhoA). Other regulators of regeneration and cell survival continue to be identified in this system at a rapid pace. Combinatorial treatments that include two or more of these factors enable some retinal ganglion cells to regenerate axons from the eye through the entire length of the optic nerve and across the optic chiasm. In some cases, regenerating axons have been shown to innervate the appropriate central target areas and elicit postsynaptic responses. Many discoveries made in this system have been found to enhance axon regeneration after spinal cord injury. Thus, progress in optic nerve regeneration holds promise not only for visual restoration but also for improving outcome after injury to other parts of the mature CNS.
It has been hypothesized that synaptic pruning precedes retinal ganglion cell degeneration in glaucoma, causing early dysfunction to retinal ganglion cells. To begin to assess this, we studied the excitatory synaptic inputs to individual ganglion cells in normal mouse retinas and in retinas with ganglion cell degeneration from glaucoma (DBA/2J), or following an optic nerve crush. Excitatory synapses were labeled by AAV2-mediated transfection of ganglion cells with PSD-95-GFP. After both insults the linear density of synaptic inputs to ganglion cells decreased. In parallel, the dendritic arbors lost complexity. We did not observe any cells that had lost dendritic synaptic input while preserving a normal or near-normal morphology. Within the temporal limits of these observations, dendritic remodeling and synapse pruning thus appear to occur near-simultaneously.
Purpose: To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects. Methods: Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed. Results: Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant. Conclusions: The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.
The purpose of this study is to determine neural, vascular, protein secretion, and cellular signaling changes with disease progression in lacrimal glands of the thrombospondin-1(TSP-1) mouse model of dry eye compared to C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice. Neural innervation was reduced in TSP-1lacrimal glands compared to WT controls, whereas the number of blood vessels was increased. Intracellular Castores and the amount of lysosomes, mitochondria, and secretory granules, but not the endoplasmic reticulum, were reduced in TSP-1compared to WT acini at 12 weeks of age. Ex vivo high KCl-evoked secretion was decreased in TSP-1compared to WT lacrimal gland tissue pieces. The α-adrenergic agonist-stimulated response was increased in TSP-1at 4 and 24 weeks but decreased at 12 weeks, and the ATP and MeSATP-stimulated peak [Ca]responses were decreased at 24 weeks. These changes were observed prior to the appearance of mononuclear infiltrates. We conclude that in the lacrimal gland the absence of TSP-1: injures peripheral nerves; blocks efferent nerve activation; decreases protein secretion; and alters intracellular Castores. Through these effects the absence of TSP-1 leads to disruption of ocular surface homeostasis and development of dry eye.
PURPOSE: Identify a reproducible measure of axial globe position (AGP) for multicenter studies on patients with thyroid eye disease (TED). METHODS: This is a prospective, international, multicenter, observational study in which 3 types of AGP evaluation were examined: radiologic, clinical, and photographic. In this study, CT was the modality to which all other methods were compared. CT AGP was measured from an orthogonal line between the anterior lateral orbital rims to the cornea. All CT measurements were made at a single institution by 3 individual clinicians. Clinical evaluation was performed with exophthalmometry. Three clinicians from each clinical site assessed AGP with 3 different exophthalmometers and horizontal palpebral width using a ruler. Each physician made 3 separate measurements with each type of exophthalmometer not in succession. All photographic measurements were made at a single institution. AGP was measured from lateral photographs in which a standard marker was placed at the anterior lateral orbital rim. Horizontal and vertical palpebral fissure were measured from frontal photographs. Three trained readers measured 3 separate times not in succession. Exophthalmometry and photography method validity was assessed by agreement with CT (mean differences calculation, intraclass correlation coefficients [ICCs], Bland-Altman figures). Correlation between palpebral fissure and CT AGP was assessed with Pearson correlation. Intraclinician and interclinician reliability was evaluated using ICCs. RESULTS: Sixty-eight patients from 7 centers participated. CT mean AGP was 21.37 mm (15.96-28.90 mm) right and 21.22 mm (15.87-28.70 mm) left (ICC 0.996 and 0.995). Exophthalmometry AGP fell between 18 mm and 25 mm. Intraclinician agreement across exophthalmometers was ideal (ICC 0.948-0.983). Agreement between clinicians was greater than 0.85 for all upright exophthalmometry measurements. Photographic mean AGP was 20.47 mm (10.92-30.88 mm) right and 20.30 mm (8.61-28.72 mm) left. Intrareader and interreader agreement was ideal (ICC 0.991-0.989). All exophthalmometers' mean differences from CT ranged between -0.06 mm (±1.36 mm) and 0.54 mm (±1.61 mm); 95% confidence interval fell within 1 mm. Magnitude of AGP did not affect exophthalmometry validity. Oculus best estimated CT AGP but differences from other exophthalmometers were not clinically meaningful in upright measurements. Photographic AGP (right ICC = 0.575, left ICC = 0.355) and palpebral fissure do not agree with CT. CONCLUSIONS: Upright clinical exophthalmometry accurately estimates CT AGP in TED. AGP measurement was reliably reproduced by the same clinician and between clinicians at multiple institutions using the protocol in this study. These findings allow reliable measurement of AGP that will be of considerable value in future outcome studies.
PURPOSE: Corneal neuropathy is a recently described disease process that is not well understood and is likely underdiagnosed as a result. This is the first reported case of an acquired corneal neuropathy associated with malposition of an Ex-PRESS shunt. METHODS: A single case report. RESULTS: We report the case of a 50-year-old man with a history of multiple procedures for glaucoma who subsequently developed photoallodynia and corneal neuropathy in association with malposition of an Ex-PRESS shunt in the peripheral cornea. Laser confocal microscopy (HRT3/RCM) of the cornea showed the presence of neuromas, decreased nerve density, and a significant increase of dendritiform immune cells consistent with our diagnosis. Initial treatment with steroid pulse therapy did not result in decreased inflammation or symptomatic improvement leading to surgical explantation of the shunt. One month after surgery, there was noticeable improvement in the patient's pain and photoallodynia (approximately 40%) as well as the abnormalities seen on confocal microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that poor Ex-PRESS shunt positioning can act as a nidus for corneal inflammation, resulting in corneal neuropathy and lowering of the nociception threshold.
The mouse corneal micropocket assay is a robust and quantitative in vivo assay for evaluating angiogenesis. By using standardized slow-release pellets containing specific growth factors that trigger blood vessel growth throughout the naturally avascular cornea, angiogenesis can be measured and quantified. In this assay the angiogenic response is generated over the course of several days, depending on the type and dose of growth factor used. The induction of neovascularization is commonly triggered by either basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). By combining these growth factors with sucralfate and hydron (poly-HEMA (poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate))) and casting the mixture into pellets, they can be surgically implanted in the mouse eye. These uniform pellets slowly-release the growth factors over five or six days (bFGF or VEGF respectively) enabling sufficient angiogenic response required for vessel area quantification using a slit lamp. This assay can be used for different applications, including the evaluation of angiogenic modulator drugs or treatments as well as comparison between different genetic backgrounds affecting angiogenesis. A skilled investigator after practicing this assay can implant a pellet in less than 5 min per eye.