candace pearson
UIC Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary
This annual report for the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois Chicago spotlights groundbreaking research. Design: Warren Group | Studio Deluxe.

Opening a window: corneal nerve regeneration

The cornea — that transparent dome serving as the eye's outer window — contains the highest concentration of nerve fibers of any structure in the body. Corneal nerves are responsible for sensations of touch, pain and temperature, and they play important roles in blink reflex, wound healing and the production of tears, all of which makes understanding the molecular and cellular processes involved in corneal nerve
regeneration critically important.

"The dysfunction of corneal nerves is a frequent pathological feature of corneal diseases that cause opacities (cloudiness) and result in blindness," explains Sandeep Jain, MD, Associate Professor and Director of the Corneal Neurobiology Laboratory at Illinois Eye. "The mechanisms responsible for corneal nerve regeneration have not yet been fully explored."


The Bionic Eye: Helping the virtually blind to see
A device reminiscent of futuristic science fiction may soon help the virtually blind see again — "almost like something out of Star Trek," says Jennifer Lim, MD, Professor and the Marion H. Schenk Esq. Chair in Ophthalmology Research of the Aging Eye.

Illinois Eye is now screening patients to test the bionic eye — an implanted artificial retina — more officially known as the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System from Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., approved for use in patients in 2013 by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

The UIC Hospital & Health Sciences System is the only center in Illinois selected to offer the artificial retina, which allows patients with very low or no vision to see shapes, edges and movement in black-and-white.