Improved Design and Fabrication of Light Toxicity Chamber used for Light Induced Retinal Degeneration in Mice
Haungs, Alan C.
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Researchers have been trying to understand how the human eye works, what causes diseases of the eye resulting in blindness and what treatments can be found to treat human eye diseases. Animals with eyes that are in some way similar to humans' are used experimentally to search for answers. One method of experimentation involves inducing disease into the eye of an experimental animal by using moderately intense light. For example, a certain kind of accumulative, light induced eye disease which might take 50 years to manifest itself in a human eye can be induced in a mouse eye with the use of a Light Toxicity Chamber in less than 24 hours. In the 1960's, Dr. Noell  observed that moderately bright light could be used to induce and study such diseases in rats. The Light Toxicity Chamber designed by Dr. Noell is still in use today at the VA Hospital in Buffalo New York, almost 50 years later. As a Graduate Electrical Engineering student, I was approached by Dr. Gonzalez Fernandez of the Buffalo VA Medical Center, regarding the likelihood of whether I could design and build a better Light Toxicity Chamber than Dr. Noell's. I agreed to try; thus, this paper is the record of what I have accomplished. In essence, I designed and built a Light Toxicity Chamber capable of blinding mice faster, with more impact and at a fraction of the energy compared to Dr. Noell's, while not polluting the laboratory with intense stray light, as his Light Toxicity Chamber does. Furthermore, my design allowed for the flexibility of a wide range of light intensities, which was not allowed in Dr. Noell's design. The greater performance my design achieved was due to abandoning Dr. Noell's original open frame design and replacing it with an enclosed design, made possible by recent developments in LED light sources. Surface mounted LED's are more compact, easier to manage thermally, and more color/wavelength controllable than the fluorescent light bulbs and color filters Dr. Noell employed in his design.
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