Shekhar K, Lapan SW, Whitney IE, Tran NM, Macosko EZ, Kowalczyk M, Adiconis X, Levin JZ, Nemesh J, Goldman M, McCarroll SA, Cepko CL, Regev A, Sanes JR. Comprehensive Classification of Retinal Bipolar Neurons by Single-Cell Transcriptomics. Cell 2016;166(5):1308-1323.e30.Abstract

Patterns of gene expression can be used to characterize and classify neuronal types. It is challenging, however, to generate taxonomies that fulfill the essential criteria of being comprehensive, harmonizing with conventional classification schemes, and lacking superfluous subdivisions of genuine types. To address these challenges, we used massively parallel single-cell RNA profiling and optimized computational methods on a heterogeneous class of neurons, mouse retinal bipolar cells (BCs). From a population of ∼25,000 BCs, we derived a molecular classification that identified 15 types, including all types observed previously and two novel types, one of which has a non-canonical morphology and position. We validated the classification scheme and identified dozens of novel markers using methods that match molecular expression to cell morphology. This work provides a systematic methodology for achieving comprehensive molecular classification of neurons, identifies novel neuronal types, and uncovers transcriptional differences that distinguish types within a class.

M Mallery R, Poolman P, J Thurtell M, Wang J-K, K Garvin M, Ledolter J, Kardon RH. The Pattern of Visual Fixation Eccentricity and Instability in Optic Neuropathy and Its Spatial Relationship to Retinal Ganglion Cell Layer Thickness. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(9):OCT429-37.Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether clinically useful measures of fixation instability and eccentricity can be derived from retinal tracking data obtained during optical coherence tomography (OCT) in patients with optic neuropathy (ON) and to develop a method for relating fixation to the retinal ganglion cell complex (GCC) thickness. METHODS: Twenty-nine patients with ON underwent macular volume OCT with 30 seconds of confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope (cSLO)-based eye tracking during fixation. Kernel density estimation quantified fixation instability and fixation eccentricity from the distribution of fixation points on the retina. Preferred ganglion cell layer loci (PGCL) and their relationship to the GCC thickness map were derived, accounting for radial displacement of retinal ganglion cell soma from their corresponding cones. RESULTS: Fixation instability was increased in ON eyes (0.21 deg2) compared with normal eyes (0.06982 deg2; P < 0.001), and fixation eccentricity was increased in ON eyes (0.48°) compared with normal eyes (0.24°; P = 0.03). Fixation instability and eccentricity each correlated moderately with logMAR acuity and were highly predictive of central visual field loss. Twenty-six of 35 ON eyes had PGCL skewed toward local maxima of the GCC thickness map. Patients with bilateral dense central scotomas had PGCL in homonymous retinal locations with respect to the fovea. CONCLUSIONS: Fixation instability and eccentricity measures obtained during cSLO-OCT assess the function of perifoveal retinal elements and predict central visual field loss in patients with ON. A model relating fixation to the GCC thickness map offers a method to assess the structure-function relationship between fixation and areas of preserved GCC in patients with ON.

Tian B, Maidana DE, Dib B, Miller JB, Bouzika P, Miller JW, Vavvas DG, Lin H. miR-17-3p Exacerbates Oxidative Damage in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells. PLoS One 2016;11(8):e0160887.Abstract

Oxidative stress has been shown to contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small non-coding RNA molecules that function in RNA silencing and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. We showed miR-17-3p to be elevated in macular RPE cells from AMD patients and in ARPE-19 cells under oxidative stress. Transfection of miR-17-3p mimic in ARPE-19 induced cell death and exacerbated oxidative lethality that was alleviated by miR-17-3p inhibitor. The expression of antioxidant enzymes manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and thioredoxin reductase-2 (TrxR2) were suppressed by miR-17-3p mimic and reversed by miR-17-3p inhibitor. These results suggest miR-17-3p aggravates oxidative damage-induced cell death in human RPE cells, while miR-17-3p inhibitor acts as a potential protector against oxidative stress by regulating the expression of antioxidant enzymes.

Gong Y, Fu Z, Edin ML, Liu C-H, Wang Z, Shao Z, Fredrick TW, Saba NJ, Morss PC, Burnim SB, Meng SS, Lih FB, Stephen Lee KS, Moran EP, SanGiovanni JP, Hellström A, Hammock BD, Zeldin DC, Smith LEH. Cytochrome P450 Oxidase 2C Inhibition Adds to ω-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Protection Against Retinal and Choroidal Neovascularization. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2016;36(9):1919-27.Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Pathological ocular neovascularization is a major cause of blindness. Increased dietary intake of ω-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) reduces retinal neovascularization and choroidal neovascularization (CNV), but ω-3 LCPUFA metabolites of a major metabolizing pathway, cytochrome P450 oxidase (CYP) 2C, promote ocular pathological angiogenesis. We hypothesized that inhibition of CYP2C activity will add to the protective effects of ω-3 LCPUFA on neovascular eye diseases. APPROACH AND RESULTS: The mouse models of oxygen-induced retinopathy and laser-induced CNV were used to investigate pathological angiogenesis in the retina and choroid, respectively. The plasma levels of ω-3 LCPUFA metabolites of CYP2C were determined by mass spectroscopy. Aortic ring and choroidal explant sprouting assays were used to investigate the effects of CYP2C inhibition and ω-3 LCPUFA-derived CYP2C metabolic products on angiogenesis ex vivo. We found that inhibition of CYP2C activity by montelukast added to the protective effects of ω-3 LCPUFA on retinal neovascularization and CNV by 30% and 20%, respectively. In CYP2C8-overexpressing mice fed a ω-3 LCPUFA diet, montelukast suppressed retinal neovascularization and CNV by 36% and 39% and reduced the plasma levels of CYP2C8 products. Soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibition, which blocks breakdown and inactivation of CYP2C ω-3 LCPUFA-derived active metabolites, increased oxygen-induced retinopathy and CNV in vivo. Exposure to selected ω-3 LCPUFA metabolites of CYP2C significantly reversed the suppression of both angiogenesis ex vivo and endothelial cell functions in vitro by the CYP2C inhibitor montelukast. CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of CYP2C activity adds to the protective effects of ω-3 LCPUFA on pathological retinal neovascularization and CNV.

Semo M'ayan, Haamedi N, Stevanato L, Carter D, Brooke G, Young M, Coffey P, Sinden J, Patel S, Vugler A. Efficacy and Safety of Human Retinal Progenitor Cells. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2016;5(4):6.Abstract

PURPOSE: We assessed the long-term efficacy and safety of human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) using established rodent models. METHODS: Efficacy of hRPC was tested initially in Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) dystrophic rats immunosuppressed with cyclosporine/dexamethasone. Due to adverse effects of dexamethasone, this drug was omitted from a subsequent dose-ranging study, where different hRPC doses were tested for their ability to preserve visual function (measured by optokinetic head tracking) and retinal structure in RCS rats at 3 to 6 months after grafting. Safety of hRPC was assessed by subretinal transplantation into wild type (WT) rats and NIH-III nude mice, with analysis at 3 to 6 and 9 months after grafting, respectively. RESULTS: The optimal dose of hRPC for preserving visual function/retinal structure in dystrophic rats was 50,000 to 100,000 cells. Human retinal progenitor cells integrated/survived in dystrophic and WT rat retina up to 6 months after grafting and expressed nestin, vimentin, GFAP, and βIII tubulin. Vision and retinal structure remained normal in WT rats injected with hRPC and there was no evidence of tumors. A comparison between dexamethasone-treated and untreated dystrophic rats at 3 months after grafting revealed an unexpected reduction in the baseline visual acuity of dexamethasone-treated animals. CONCLUSIONS: Human retinal progenitor cells appear safe and efficacious in the preclinical models used here. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: Human retinal progenitor cells could be deployed during early stages of retinal degeneration or in regions of intact retina, without adverse effects on visual function. The ability of dexamethasone to reduce baseline visual acuity in RCS dystrophic rats has important implications for the interpretation of preclinical and clinical cell transplant studies.

Ying G-S, Vanderveen D, Daniel E, Quinn GE, Baumritter A, to of Group TAEA-PRPC. Risk Score for Predicting Treatment-Requiring Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in the Telemedicine Approaches to Evaluating Acute-Phase ROP Study. Ophthalmology 2016;123(10):2176-82.Abstract

PURPOSE: To develop a risk score for predicting treatment-requiring retinopathy of prematurity (TR-ROP) in the Telemedicine Approaches to Evaluating Acute-Phase Retinopathy of Prematurity (e-ROP) study. DESIGN: Second analyses of an observational cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Infants with birth weight (BW) <1251 g who had ≥1 imaging session by 34 weeks of postmenstrual age (PMA) and ≥1 subsequent retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) examination for determining TR-ROP by study-certified ophthalmologists. METHODS: Nonphysician trained readers evaluated wide-field retinal image sets for characteristics of ROP, pre-plus/plus disease, and retinal hemorrhage. Risk score points for predicting TR-ROP were derived from the regression coefficients of significant predictors in a multivariate logistic regression model. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: TR-ROP. RESULTS: Eighty-five of 771 infants (11.0%) developed TR-ROP. In a multivariate model, significant predictors for TR-ROP were gestational age (GA) (odds ratio [OR], 5.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-18.9 for ≤25 vs. ≥28 weeks), need for respiratory support (OR, 7.0; 95% CI, 1.3-37.1 for high-frequency oscillatory ventilation vs. no respiratory support), slow weight gain (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.2-4.6 for weight gain ≤12 g/day vs. >15 g/day), and image findings at the first image session including number of quadrants with pre-plus (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.5-9.7 for 4 pre-plus quadrants vs. no pre-plus), stage and zone of ROP (OR, 4.7; 95% CI, 2.1-11.8 for stage 1-2 zone I, OR, 5.9; 95% CI, 2.1-16.6 for stage 3 zone I vs. no ROP), and presence of blot hemorrhage (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.4-6.7). Image findings predicted TR-ROP better than GA (area under receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 0.82 vs. 0.75, P = 0.03). The risk of TR-ROP steadily increased with higher risk score and predicted TR-ROP well (AUC = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.85-0.92). Risk score ≥3 points for predicting TR-ROP had a sensitivity of 98.8%, specificity of 40.1%, and positive and negative predictive values of 17.0% and 99.6%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Image characteristics at 34 PMA weeks or earlier independently predict TR-ROP. If externally validated in other infants, risk score, calculated from image findings, GA, weight gain, and respiratory support, enables early identification of infants in need of increased surveillance for TR-ROP.

da Cruz L, Dorn JD, Humayun MS, Dagnelie G, Handa J, Barale P-O, Sahel J-A, Stanga PE, Hafezi F, Safran AB, Salzmann J, Santos A, Birch D, Spencer R, Cideciyan AV, de Juan E, Duncan JL, Eliott D, Fawzi A, Olmos de Koo LC, Ho AC, Brown G, Haller J, Regillo C, Del Priore LV, Arditi A, Greenberg RJ, Greenberg RJ. Five-Year Safety and Performance Results from the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System Clinical Trial. Ophthalmology 2016;123(10):2248-54.Abstract

PURPOSE: The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc, Sylmar, CA) was developed to restore some vision to patients blind as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) or outer retinal degeneration. A clinical trial was initiated in 2006 to study the long-term safety and efficacy of the Argus II System in patients with bare or no light perception resulting from end-stage RP. DESIGN: Prospective, multicenter, single-arm clinical trial. Within-patient controls included the nonimplanted fellow eye and patients' native residual vision compared with their vision with the Argus II. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty participants in 10 centers in the United States and Europe. METHODS: The worse-seeing eye of blind patients was implanted with the Argus II. Patients wore glasses mounted with a small camera and a video processor that converted images into stimulation patterns sent to the electrode array on the retina. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were safety (the number, seriousness, and relatedness of adverse events) and visual function, as measured by 3 computer-based, objective tests. Secondary measures included functional vision performance on objectively scored real-world tasks. RESULTS: Twenty-four of 30 patients remained implanted with functioning Argus II Systems at 5 years after implantation. Only 1 additional serious adverse event was experienced after the 3-year time point. Patients performed significantly better with the Argus II on than off on all visual function tests and functional vision tasks. CONCLUSIONS: The 5-year results of the Argus II trial support the long-term safety profile and benefit of the Argus II System for patients blind as a result of RP. The Argus II is the first and only retinal implant to have market approval in the European Economic Area, the United States, and Canada.

Yonekawa Y, Wu W-C, Kusaka S, Robinson J, Tsujioka D, Kang KB, Shapiro MJ, Padhi TR, Jain L, Sears JE, Kuriyan AE, Berrocal AM, Quiram PA, Gerber AE, Paul Chan RV, Jonas KE, Wong SC, Patel CK, Abbey AM, Spencer R, Blair MP, Chang EY, Papakostas TD, Vavvas DG, Sisk RA, Ferrone PJ, Henderson RH, Olsen KR, Hartnett EM, Chau FY, Mukai S, Murray TG, Thomas BJ, Meza AP, Drenser KA, Trese MT, Capone A. Immediate Sequential Bilateral Pediatric Vitreoretinal Surgery: An International Multicenter Study. Ophthalmology 2016;123(8):1802-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the feasibility and safety of bilateral simultaneous vitreoretinal surgery in pediatric patients. DESIGN: International, multicenter, interventional, retrospective case series. PARTICIPANTS: Patients 17 years of age or younger from 24 centers worldwide who underwent immediate sequential bilateral vitreoretinal surgery (ISBVS)-defined as vitrectomy, scleral buckle, or lensectomy using the vitreous cutter-performed in both eyes sequentially during the same anesthesia session. METHODS: Clinical history, surgical details and indications, time under anesthesia, and intraoperative and postoperative ophthalmic and systemic adverse events were reviewed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ocular and systemic adverse events. RESULTS: A total of 344 surgeries from 172 ISBVS procedures in 167 patients were included in the study. The mean age of the cohort was 1.3±2.6 years. Nonexclusive indications for ISBVS were rapidly progressive disease (74.6%), systemic morbidity placing the child at high anesthesia risk (76.0%), and residence remote from surgery location (30.2%). The most common diagnoses were retinopathy of prematurity (ROP; 72.7% [P < 0.01]; stage 3, 4.8%; stage 4A, 44.4%; stage 4B, 22.4%; stage 5, 26.4%), familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (7.0%), abusive head trauma (4.1%), persistent fetal vasculature (3.5%), congenital cataract (1.7%), posterior capsular opacification (1.7%), rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (1.7%), congenital X-linked retinoschisis (1.2%), Norrie disease (2.3%), and viral retinitis (1.2%). Mean surgical time was 143±59 minutes for both eyes. Higher ROP stage correlated with longer surgical time (P = 0.02). There were no reported intraoperative ocular complications. During the immediate postoperative period, 2 eyes from different patients demonstrated unilateral vitreous hemorrhage (0.6%). No cases of endophthalmitis, choroidal hemorrhage, or hypotony occurred. Mean total anesthesia time was 203±87 minutes. There were no cases of anesthesia-related death, malignant hyperthermia, anaphylaxis, or cardiac event. There was 1 case of reintubation (0.6%) and 1 case of prolonged oxygen desaturation (0.6%). Mean follow-up after surgery was 103 weeks, and anatomic success and globe salvage rates were 89.8% and 98.0%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This study found ISBVS to be a feasible and safe treatment paradigm for pediatric patients with bilateral vitreoretinal pathologic features when repeated general anesthesia is undesirable or impractical.

Noseda R, Bernstein CA, Nir R-R, Lee AJ, Fulton AB, Bertisch SM, Hovaguimian A, Cestari DM, Saavedra-Walker R, Borsook D, Doran BL, Buettner C, Burstein R. Migraine photophobia originating in cone-driven retinal pathways. Brain 2016;139(Pt 7):1971-86.Abstract

Migraine headache is uniquely exacerbated by light. Using psychophysical assessments in patients with normal eyesight we found that green light exacerbates migraine headache significantly less than white, blue, amber or red lights. To delineate mechanisms, we used electroretinography and visual evoked potential recording in patients, and multi-unit recording of dura- and light-sensitive thalamic neurons in rats to show that green activates cone-driven retinal pathways to a lesser extent than white, blue and red; that thalamic neurons are most responsive to blue and least responsive to green; and that cortical responses to green are significantly smaller than those generated by blue, amber and red lights. These findings suggest that patients' experience with colour and migraine photophobia could originate in cone-driven retinal pathways, fine-tuned in relay thalamic neurons outside the main visual pathway, and preserved by the cortex. Additionally, the findings provide substrate for the soothing effects of green light.

Li E, Greenberg PB, Voruganti I, Krzystolik MG. Cost and Selection of Ophthalmic Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Agents. R I Med J (2013) 2016;99(5):15-7.Abstract

Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs - ranibizumab, aflibercept, and off-label bevacizumab - are vital to the treatment of common retinal diseases, including exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), and macular edema (ME) associated with retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Given the high prevalence of AMD and retinal vascular diseases, anti-VEGF agents represent a large cost burden to the United States (US) healthcare system. Although ranibizumab and aflibercept are 30-fold more expensive per injection than bevacizumab, the two more costly medications are commonly used in the US, even though all three have been shown to be effective and safe for treatment of these retinal diseases. We investigated the availability and content of professional ophthalmic guidelines on cost consideration in the selection of anti-VEGF agents. We found that current professional guidelines were limited in availability and lacked specific guidance on cost-based anti-VEGF drug selection. This represents a missed opportunity to encourage the practice of value-based medicine. [Full article available at, free with no login].

Paneghetti L, Ng Y-SE. A novel endothelial-derived anti-inflammatory activity significantly inhibits spontaneous choroidal neovascularisation in a mouse model. Vasc Cell 2016;8:2.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Endothelial cells (EC) grown on collagen particles inhibit intimal hyperplasia in animal models when applied perivascularly, and this effect appears to be, at least in part, the result of EC-derived soluble factors that suppress local vascular inflammation. To elucidate the molecular basis of the therapeutic effects of EC grown on collagen particles, the anti-inflammatory activity of conditioned medium from these cells was characterized. METHODS: Human aortic EC (HAEC) and, for chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, human umbilical vein EC (HUVEC) were treated with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in the presence of conditioned medium generated by HAEC grown on collagen particles (ECPCM), and the anti-inflammatory effects were evaluated by analysing the expression of the inflammation-related adhesion molecules E-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). The therapeutic activity of ECPCM was studied using the mouse strain JR5558, which develops spontaneous choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) lesions driven by local inflammation. RESULTS: ECPCM significantly suppressed TNFα-induced expression of E-selectin and VCAM-1. ECPCM did not affect the mRNA stability of the two genes, but suppressed TNFα-induced binding of the p65 subunit of NF-kB transcription factor to E-selectin and VCAM-1 promoters. In vivo, systemic ECPCM treatment significantly reduced the CNV area and the recruitment of activated macrophages to the lesions. Characterization of the molecule responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity in ECPCM indicates that it is unlikely to be a protein and that it is not any of the better characterized EC-derived anti-inflammatory molecules. CONCLUSIONS: Medium conditioned by HAEC grown on collagen particles exhibits significant anti-inflammatory activity via inhibition of genes that mediate inflammatory responses in EC.

Clermont A, Murugesan N, Zhou Q, Kita T, Robson PA, Rushbrooke LJ, Evans MD, Aiello LP, Feener EP. Plasma Kallikrein Mediates Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-Induced Retinal Dysfunction and Thickening. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(6):2390-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: Plasma kallikrein is a serine protease and circulating component of inflammation, which exerts clinically significant effects on vasogenic edema. This study examines the role of plasma kallikrein in VEGF-induced retinal edema. METHODS: Intravitreal injections of VEGF and saline vehicle were performed in plasma prekallikrein-deficient (KLKB1-/-) and wild-type (WT) mice, and in both rats and mice receiving a selective plasma kallikrein inhibitor, VA999272. Retinal vascular permeability (RVP) and retinal thickness were measured by Evans blue permeation and optical coherence tomography, respectively. The retinal kallikrein kinin system was examined by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Retinal neovascularization was investigated in KLKB1-/- and WT mice subjected to oxygen-induced retinopathy. RESULTS: Vascular endothelial growth factor-induced RVP and retinal thickening were reduced in KLKB1-/- mice by 68% and 47%, respectively, compared to VEGF responses in WT mice. Plasma kallikrein also contributes to TNFα-induced retinal thickening, which was reduced by 52% in KLKB1-/- mice. Systemic administration of VA999272 reduced VEGF-induced retinal thickening by 57% (P < 0.001) in mice and 53% (P < 0.001) in rats, compared to vehicle-treated controls. Intravitreal injection of VEGF in WT mice increased plasma prekallikrein in the retina, which was diffusely distributed throughout the inner and outer retinal layers. Avascular and neovascular areas induced by oxygen-induced retinopathy were similar in WT and KLKB1-/- mice. CONCLUSIONS: Vascular endothelial growth factor increases extravasation of plasma kallikrein into the retina, and plasma kallikrein is required for the full effects of VEGF on RVP and retinal thickening in rodents. Systemic plasma kallikrein inhibition may provide a therapeutic opportunity to treat VEGF-induced retina edema.

Fu Z, Gong Y, Löfqvist C, Hellström A, Smith LEH. Review: adiponectin in retinopathy. Biochim Biophys Acta 2016;1862(8):1392-400.Abstract

Neovascular eye diseases are a major cause of blindness including retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration in which new vessel formation is driven by hypoxia or metabolic abnormalities affecting the fuel supply. White-adipose-tissue derived adipokines such as adiponectin modulate metabolic responses. Increasing evidence shows that lack of adiponectin may result in retinal neovascularization. Activation of the adiponectin pathway may in turn restore energy metabolism, to suppress the drive for compensatory but ultimately pathological neovessels of retinopathy. In this review, we will summarize our current knowledge of the role of adiponectin in eye diseases of premature infants, diabetic patients as well as the elderly. Further investigations in this field are likely to lead to new preventative approaches for these diseases.

Mantopoulos D, Bouzika P, Tsakris A, Pawlyk BS, Sandberg MA, Miller JW, Rizzo Iii JF, Vavvas DG, Cestari DM. An Experimental Animal Model of Photodynamic Optic Nerve Head Injury (PONHI). Curr Eye Res 2016;41(11):1498-1506.Abstract

PURPOSE: Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION) is the most common cause of non-glaucomatous optic nerve head (ONH) injury among older adults. AION results from a sudden ischemic insult to the proximal portion of the optic nerve, typically leading to visual impairment. Here, we present an experimental model of photodynamically induced ONH injury that can be used to study neuroprotective modalities. METHODS: Intraperitoneal injection of mesoporphyrin IX was followed by photodynamic treatment of the ONH in one eye of Brown-Norway rats; the fellow eye received the reverse sequence as a sham control. Fluorescein angiography (FA), spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and visual evoked potential (VEP) recordings were performed at different time points following laser treatment. Immunohistochemistry was used to monitor apoptotic cell death (TUNEL) and macrophage infiltration (CD68). Cytokine levels were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: FA showed early hyperfluorescence and late leakage of the ONH, while SD-OCT revealed optic nerve edema. No leakage or other abnormalities were detected in control eyes. VEPs were significantly reduced in amplitude and showed prolonged responses compared to sham eyes. The number of apoptotic retinal ganglion cells was elevated one day after laser treatment (13.77 ± 4.49, p < 0.01) and peaked on day 7 (57.22 ± 11.34, p < 0.01). ONH macrophage infiltration also peaked on day 7 (101.8 ± 9.8, p < 0.05). ELISAs performed showed upregulation of macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 on days 3 and 1, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Photodynamic treatment of the ONH after administration of mesoporphyrin IX leads to macroscopic, histologic, and physiologic evidence of ONH injury. Given the long half-life of mesoporphyrin IX and the ease of intraperitoneal injections, this new model of photodynamically induced ONH injury may be a useful tool for studying optic nerve injury and possible neuroprotective treatments.