Enhanced, non-invasive technique shows intricate details of a cell’s structure and activity


Denver, Colo.—Hyalocytes are cells that reside within the vitreous body, a clear gel-like fluid that fills the area between the lens and the retina. They play many crucial roles such as keeping cellular debris out of the vitreous body ensuring that light can reach the retinal nerve cells that are responsible for vision. Even though they have an important function, not much is known about how they behave due to the insufficient methods of visualization. The study, presented this week at the 2022 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo., developed a novel approach to capture these cells in fine detail and finally see what else they can do.

Researchers from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York Medical College, Touro College, and Stanford University showcased a new imaging and image processing method that can see and define hyalocytes’ behavior in living human eyes. They imaged five healthy subjects with a “non-confocal quadrant-detection adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscope (AOSLO)” and were able to image 50 hyalocytes. The hyalocyte morphology and movement were examined over time via cell tracking and image registration. They also measured the cell velocities.

They found the cells exhibited variability over time in movement and morphology. They observed five varieties of morphology: amoeboid (2%), rod (4%), hyper-ramified (6%), activated (14%, ramified (74%). Richard B. Rosen, MD, FACS, FASRS, CRA, the lead researcher, said “our study reveals fine details of cellular morphology and behavior of hyalocytes in living subjects, non-invasively, using non-confocal quadrant-detection of scattered light in an adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscope and novel image processing. Hyalocytes are resident macrophages within the vitreous cavity which help maintain clarity of the optical pathway to the retina and provide immunological surveillance, but have also been implicated in macular pucker, diabetic tractional membranes, and retinal detachment due to proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The ability to visualize the dynamics of these cells label-free could be used to assess new therapies for these blinding disorders."

  • Abstract title: Assessing vitreous cortex hyalocyte morphology and dynamics in the living human eye
  • Presentation start/end time: Monday, May 2, 1:55 – 2:12pm MT
  • Location: 205/207 (Denver Convention Center)
  • Recording available on ARVO Virtual meeting site beginning May 11
  • Abstract number: 1496


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the following embargo dates:

  • May 1: Official launch of presentations of all posters (both presented in-person and virtually)
  • Rolling basis: Paper session, Symposia, Minisymposia, Cross-sectional Groups, and invited speaker sessions that have specific presentation times will be embargoed until the end of those individual time slots.


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Jenniffer Scherhaufer