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Home »  News »  The Gene Responsible For Vision Loss In Middle Age Discovered

The Gene Responsible For Vision Loss In Middle Age Discovered

According to researchers, chemical changes in the eye can lead to blindness in middle-age. Their findings aid understanding of a genetic condition that causes sight loss for one in 3,000 people in the UK.

The Gene Responsible For Vision Loss In Middle Age Discovered

Chemical changes in the eye can lead to blindness in middle-age, says study.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Chemical changes in the eye can lead to blindness in middle-age
  2. Scientists have discovered a gene that may damage eye cells
  3. This gene can cause gradual degeneration of retina
A team of scientists has recently discovered a gene that may damage eye cells by gradual degeneration of retina, causing sight-loss in middle age. According to researchers, chemical changes in the eye can lead to blindness in middle-age. Their findings aid understanding of a genetic condition that causes sight loss for one in 3,000 people in the UK. The team examined how changes in a gene - known as RPGR - can damage eye cells to cause a disorder known as X-linked retinitis pigmentosa - a chronic hereditary eye disease characterized by black pigmentation and gradual degeneration of the retina. The condition is incurable and affects night and peripheral vision before gradually causing blindness in middle age.

The team from the University of Edinburgh took skin samples from two patients and transformed stem cells - which can change into any cell type - into light-sensing eye cells known as photo receptors. They compared these with cells from healthy relatives of the patients. Photo receptors - which decay in retinitis pigmentosa patients - differed in their fundamental structure when compared with those from family members. Follow-up studies in mice identified key molecules that interact with RPGR to maintain the structure of photo receptors. When RPGR is flawed, the structure is compromised and photo receptors cannot function correctly, leading to sight loss. Lead researcher Dr Roly Megaw said that by furthering the understanding of the RPGR gene and its effects on photoreceptor cells, they hope that these findings bring them closer to developing a possible treatment for this devastating disease.

The research, which is presented on September 5 at the Eye Development and Degeneration 2017 conference in Edinburgh, appears in journal of Nature Communications.

Here's how eating fish can protect your eyesight.

Regular consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women. Fish oil has long been thought to be protective against cardiovascular disease. About 9 million U.S. adults over the age of 40 years experience some degree of AMD. Most have an early-stage form of the disease, while about 1.7 million have the advanced stage of illness that results in a serious loss of vision. To date, there is no recognised method, aside from advising patients not to smoke cigarettes, to prevent or slow the onset of AMD among those who do not have the disease or only display the symptoms of early illness.


With inputs from ANI


 
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