Brooks Air Force Base

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Brooks Air Force Base, TX

Protocol - 2003-06 - Functional Assessment of Laser Retinal Injury in the Non-Human Primate



Functional Assessment of Laser Retinal Injury in the Non-Human Primate (Macaca mulatta) Using Two Metrics of Function (visual acuity/contrast sensitivity and multifocal electroretinogram)


Research Category:

M8: Laser Research


FY: 2003 Funding (in dollars):



Responsible Organization:


Primary Contact:

Public Affairs Office


Brooks City-Base






Performing Organization:

See Responsible Organization Information












Behavioral measures of visual function will be used in this Tri-Service study to determine whether multi-focal electroretinogram (MERG) provides an objective, non-invasive metric of retinal damage to quantitatively assess the natural time course of recovery from laser-induced retinal injury.



To perform the proposed study, six non-human primates (NHPs) will be shaped for desired response using well-established approximation and stimulus/reward association techniques. This protocol is expanding on going research to include the functional assessment of laser retinal injury through the use of the MERG with the intent of correlating the function to visual acuity tests and currently used morphological techniques. The first experiment will concentrate on gathering the normal data for each subject using the MERG. In the second experiment the animals are trained using a positive reinforcement paradigm that gives repeated measures of acuity at different contrast levels. Each animal will be offered its preferred "treat" as fluid. The pole and collar technique commonly used for the daily restraint of monkeys in a chair is currently used by this lab and many others for visual studies. The third experiment, Behavioral Testing and Foveal and Parafoveal Laser Exposures: a) Operant Behavioral Training/Testing. This experiment is designed to identify the relationship between electrophysiological (MERG patterns) and behavioral assessments (i.e., acuity and contrast sensitivity) pre- and post-laser lesion. b) Foveal and Parafoveal Laser Exposures Once the animals have achieved stable performance on the behavioral tasking, military-relevant laser wavelength lesions will be administered to the retina. The energy, pulse duration and wavelength will be determined by currently approved protocol 02-01. c) MERG and Contrast Sensitivity/Visual Acuity Testing and Non-invasive Imaging (FA, OCT, cSLO) The natural time course of vision loss and recovery will be tracked with both functional techniques (MERG and Contrast Sensitivity/Visual Acuity Testing) at defined periods during the post-lesion period. Behavioral assessments will be performed every duty day and MERG and other imaging will be performed once a month during this period.

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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