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Neuroscience of vision loss

Dr Jasleen Jolly was inspired by the observation of how different patients in low vision clinics adapt to their vision loss in very different ways, to explore how the visual pathway responds to retinal disease.

This work aims to understand the visual system as a whole from perception to pathway, as a group of interlinked visual circuits that start in the eye, then progress to the visual cortex in the brain and beyond.

The ultimate goal is to determine whether we can harness brain plasticity to support people with low vision. This work is in early stages of development, but shows exciting promise.

Learn more about how the brain and the eyes are interconnected with Dr Jolly's short video.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome is the presence of visual hallucinations that many people experience following vision loss. It occurs in the brain, but we are not sure yet exactly whereabouts. Such hallucinations can cause distress in quite a lot of patients.

We are exploring the cause of Charles Bonnet hallucinations in the brain using MRI imaging, in conjunction with The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN) at The University of Oxford (where Dr Jolly formerly worked).

At ARU, we are investigating these hallucinations using EG brain recordings. In addition, Dr Jolly leads a team of doctors and medical students in exploring the prevalence of Charles Bonnet Syndrome in younger adults, as this is not well known.

Jolly, J. K., Caron, B., Sheldon, A. A., Bullock, D., Downes, S. M., Pestilli, F., MacLaren, R. E., Bridge, H., 2021. Widespread Thinning of Human Primary Visual Cortex Following Focal Loss of Photoreceptors. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci., 62, pp. 3138.

Jolly, J. K., Sheldon A. A., Alvarez, I., Gallagher, C., MacLaren, R. E., Bridge, H., 2021. A low-cost telescope for enhanced stimulus visual field coverage in functional MRI. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 350, 109023. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2020.109023

Carpenter, K., Jolly, J. K., Bridge, H., 2019. The elephant in the room: understanding the pathogenesis of Charles Bonnet syndrome. Ophthalmic and Physiologic Optics, 39(6), pp. 414-21. doi: 10.1111/opo.12645

Read more about more neuroscience of vision loss publications.