An image of a rodent optic nerve head by Hassanain Qambari and Jayden Dickson of the Lions Eye Institute in Perth has won this year’s Nikon Small World Photo Microscopy Competition.

The winning image: Rodent optic nerve head showing astrocytes (yellow), contractile proteins (red) and retinal vasculature (green) by Hassanain Qambari & Jayden Dickson of The Lions Eye Institute in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Perth, Western Australia.

The winning photomicrograph was captured with a confocal microscope using Fluorescence and Image Stacking. The objective lens magnification was 20x. This colourful image provides an important contribution to the study and reversal of diabetic retinopathy, which affects one in five persons with diabetes worldwide. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye, known as the retina. The damaged blood vessels can swell and leak, which can cause blurry vision or total loss of eyesight. Since 2021, Qambari has devoted his time and research to the early detection and reversal of the disease.

“The Nikon Small World competition is great, as it showcases amazing work across many disciplines from around the world,” said Qambari. “All the images presented in the competition represent the beauty and artistic side of science which may otherwise get overlooked. Such a competition not only celebrates the participant’s hard work and passion but may also draw and inspire young scientists to pursue a career in STEM. It certainly inspired me.”

Click here to view and read about the images submitted in this global competition.