ELZA’s role in Retina

Members of ELZA have performed extensive retinal research, both on the clinical, but also on the laboratory level. Their research has been published on the highest possible level in scientific publishing, including publications in Nature Medicine and Nature Genetics.

Below you will find a list of scientific publications and posts authored and co-authored by ELZA members.

The Chapters

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
ARMD: How to protect yourself
ARMD: treat with intravitreal injections
Epiretinal membrane, Macular hole
Retinal detachment

Posts on retina published by ELZA

July 2016: Argus II retinal prosthesis, 5-year data

Ophthalmology. The present study describes the clinical outcomes of the Argus II retinal prosthesis in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) ... Read more...

Artificial retina: long-term results of the Argus II implant

American Journal of Ophthalmology. This multicenter shows the long-term results of the Argus II retinal implant to restore sight in ... Read more...

2014. SLTBR (Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms).

Vienna, Austria. Farhad Hafezi: invited speaker ...

Effect of ranibizumab (Lucentis) on pigment epithelium detachment

Drug Design, Development and Therapy. Prospective clinical study on the effect of ranibizumab (Lucentis) on pigment epithelium detachment. Read here ... Read more...

The danger of laser pointers (Article in French)

Tribune de Genève. What happens to the retina when it is accidentally exposed to laser energy from a laser pointer ... Read more...

Electrical stimulation of the retina

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS). Scientific study to investigate on the electrical stimulation of the retina in retinal degeneration ... Read more...

Study on the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS). People that became blind due to Retinal degeneration see hand movements after implantation of ... Read more...

Laboratory study on retinal implants and visual perception

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Read the study here ... Read more...

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)

The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue in the back of the eye. When comparing the eye to a camera, the retina corresponds to the light-sensitive film in the back of the device.

 Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. AMD represents the most frequent cause for severe vision loss in people over the age of 60 years.


The beginning of age related changes of the retina is characterized by the occurrence of yellow deposits, called drusen. A few small drusen may not cause changes in visual acuity yet, but they usually grow in size and increase in numbers (maculopathy) over time. In later stages they may lead to a dimming or distortion of visual acuity that people find most noticeable when reading.

In more advanced (late) stages (macular degeneration), these changes are combined with a thinning of the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macula result in atrophy, or tissue death (dry or atrophic macular degeneration). In the dry or atrophic form of macular degeneration, patients may have often blind spots in the center of their central vision-field.

Dry ARMD: retinal photography and angiography


Another advanced stage of macular degeneration is the so-called wet or exudative macular degeneration. This type of the disease is characterized by a growing of an vascular membrane underlying the retina. The oxygen supply to the macula is disrupted and the body responds with the reproduction of new, abnormal blood vessels. This damage to the macula results in rapid and irrevocable central vision loss. Once destroyed, it is hard to restore. However, there are several treatment options for wet ARMD which can be very effective if applied when diagnosed early.

Normal retina and retina with wet ARMD

ARMD: How to protect yourself

There are hard risk factors (e.g. genetics and ocular conditions) which cannot be changed, however there are certain things, which can be done to reduce the risk of macular degeneration (ARMD) and can be taken charge of ARMD. Research with large populations of people around the world has revealed a whole list of daily risk factors. Adjusting your life style and your nutrition can make a difference. The effect of excessive lifelong light exposure is still discussed controversially: in some studies, there is epidemiologic evidence for a relationship betweenARMD and excessive sunlight exposure, and other studies fail to show such a relationship. If you decide to protect your eyes, the following movie might give you some insights.

ARMD. Nutrition can make a difference

Sunlight-related ocular changes

ARMD: treat with intravitreal injections

During the course of a wet AMD, the eye produces large amounts of a protein called VEGF. This protein is one of the main causes of abnormal, leaking blood vessels. These produce excess fluid that may cause swelling of the retina. In the past years, several medications have been developed that may block VEGF. This may reduce the swelling and (partly) restore vision, or stabilize the course of the disease.

These medications are administered by an intravitreal injection.

Floaters, Posterior vitreous detachment

Deposits of protein drifting in the vitreous (the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye) are called floaters. They are usually benign, occasionally resulting from a separation of the vitreous gel from the retina, called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). This condition is more common among people over 50 and is not serious. Floaters could cause shadows on the retina and are often described by patients as spots, strands, or little flies.

Floaters can be removed by a vitrectomy surgery, but the procedure increases the risk of developing early cataract: therefore, a floaterectomy is only performed when the floaters are massive and very centrally located, making it sometimes hard to read or work.

Epiretinal Membrane

Epiretinal membrane is a disease of the eye in response to changes in the vitreous or more rarely, caused by an inflammation, diabetes or a trauma. It is also called macular pucker. Sometimes, as a response of immune system to protect the retina, cells converge in the macular area as a result of the vitreous aging and pulling away in posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). PVD can create minor damage to the retina, stimulating exudate and/or inflammation. Cells like leucocytes can gradually form a transparent layer and, like all scar tissue, tightens to create tension on the retina which may create bulge and pucker (e.g., macular pucker), or even cause swellings or macular edema.

This often results in distortion of the vision which is clearly noticeable such as bowing of lines, or distortions. The distortions can make objects look different in size (usually larger), especially in the central portion of the visual field.

Retinal detachment

During the process of ageing, the vitreous may liquify and shrink. Later on, it detaches from the underlying retina – a this is the normal process called posterior vitreous detachment.

Sometimes, the vitreous stays attached at the retina at certain places, and pulls on it. A tear may occur, and when fluid from the vitreous cavity enters the hole created by the tear, it may peel off the retina, creating a retinal detachment.

A retinal detachment represents an ophthalmological emergency and must be operated rapidly, often by performing a vitrectomy.