Extra oxygen a big help with retinal detachment

Oxygen therapy, even when delayed, has been shown to be effective to help animals with retinal detachment, so it will probably work in humans as well, say scientists at University of California, Santa Barbara’s Neuroscience Research Institute.

Working with another researcher from University College London, UCSB scientists have learned that “glial” cells, which are the supporting cells of the central nervous system (CNS), are critical to the detachment and reattachment process. These cells are known to surround the neurons in the CNS, hold them in place, insulate them from each other and get rid of dead ones. Pretty powerful little items. And it seems they are the same cells found in the brain and spinal cord which means this research may have far-reaching implications.

Administering extra oxygen seems to reduce cell death and prevent nerve cell remodeling, which may lead to faster recovery after reattachment surgery.