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Invited Commentary
September 2016

Novel Technology for Locating Hidden Egyptian Tombs and Detailing Schlemm Canal Physiology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(9):982. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.2015

Mysteries often are solved with the introduction of newer technology that reveals more information helping to answer lingering questions. Recently, for example, ground-penetrating radar using radiating electromagnetic pulses at the tomb of King Tutankhamun detected additional hidden rooms that may prove to be the long-lost burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti.1 Similarly, using enhanced depth imaging with anterior segment optical coherence tomography, Skaat et al2 have examined the effect of topical pilocarpine hydrochloride, a drug used to treat glaucoma for more than a century, on the structure of the Schlemm canal in healthy eyes and eyes with glaucoma. They were able to convincingly demonstrate in vivo that after a single drop of pilocarpine was administered, there was an increase in the cross-sectional area and volume of the Schlemm canal in healthy and glaucomatous eyes. Pilocarpine is a muscarinic agonist known to stimulate the ciliary muscle that pulls on the scleral spur and opens the trabecular meshwork. Skaat and colleagues suggest that pilocarpine may be having a direct effect on the Schlemm canal or an indirect effect through activation of the ciliary muscle or trabecular meshwork apparatus.

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