A historic study by experts in the US has enabled them to see the rods which help our eyes to function for the first time ever.
The tiny light-sensing cells play an integral part in helping people to focus on things, such as when we read, but until recently they have never been physically viewed by scientists.
However, by using adaptive optics, the same technology astronomers use to study distant stars and galaxies, experts led by Alfredo Dubra from the University of Rochester in New York saw the rods for the first time.
According to the expert, this could lead to exciting new therapies for preventing blindness and is a "critical first step" in the process of restoring sight.
"It"s impossible to overemphasise how important early detection is to eye disease," he explained.
The breakthrough comes after specialists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that blocking two tiny molecules of RNA, which is similar to DNA, appears to suppress the abnormal growth of blood vessels that occurs in degenerative eye disorders, and could pave the way for new therapies for eye diseases.
by Emily Tait