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J Neurosci Methods. 2001 Aug 30;109(2):153-66.

Maintaining the cornea and the general physiological environment in visual neurophysiology experiments.

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Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3053, Carlton, Australia.


Neurophysiologists have been investigating the responses of neurons in the visual system for the past half-century using monkeys and cats that are anesthetized and paralyzed, with the non-blinking eyelids open for prolonged periods of time. Impermeable plastic contact lenses have been used to prevent dehydration of the corneal epithelium, which would otherwise occur in minutes. Unfortunately, such lenses rapidly introduce a variety of abnormal states that lead to clouding of the cornea, degradation of the retinal image, and premature termination of the experiment. To extend the viability of such preparations, a new protocol for maintenance of corneal health has been developed. The protocol uses rigid gas permeable contact lenses designed to maximize gas transmission, rigorous sterile methods, and a variety of methods for sustaining and monitoring the overall physiology of the animal. The effectiveness of the protocol was evaluated clinically by ophthalmoscopy before, during, and after the experiments, which lasted 8-10 days. Histopathology and quantitative histology were performed on the corneas following the experiment. Our observations showed that this protocol permits continuous contact lens wear without adversely affecting the corneas. Thus, it is possible to collect data 24 h each day, for the entire duration of the experiment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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