Breakthrough AMD Find Could Lead to Sight Loss Prevention in Over 50’s
Scientists have recently made a breakthrough discovery that highlights a link between genetics and AMD. What this means for over-50’s is staggering, as it could actually lead to treatments preventing sight loss in individuals within this age category.
Researchers Teaming Up
The collaboration between Southampton General Hospital and the University of Southampton has yielded results that show a variety of genetic factors contribute to AMD, or age related macular degeneration. This is a condition which is known to affect those over the age of 50 and causes significant sight loss.
According to one of the researchers involved, there are about 34 genes that are contributing to the development of an increased risk of AMD. By identifying the genes, the researchers are actually able to come one step closer in determining the causes of the condition, and once they have done that, they can then begin looking into treatment options.
The Prevalence of AMD
The experts state that there are over 600,000 UK inhabitants who are currently struggling with AMD, and more than 50 million people suffering with the condition throughout the world. These are staggering numbers, with often terrifying consequences because the condition has a direct impact on a person’s day to day quality of life.
What makes research into this area all the more important is that the numbers of people affecting by AMD is set to skyrocket, with more than 300 million people estimated to be affected by 2040.
Progress Towards a Brighter Future
By conducting research that sheds light on the role that genes play in the development of AMD, experts will be in a better position to understand how the condition develops within the body. What is more, the scientists believe that it is through the collaboration of experts worldwide that has allowed them progress as far as they have.
While AMD might be a fairly common condition for over 50’s, many are still not sure what it entails. This progressive disease actually kills the retinal photoreceptors, which are the light-sensitive cells that are located at the rear of the eye. Individuals with this condition will find that they no longer have the clear, sharp vision that is required for tasks such as driving, among many others, because of the destruction of the macula.
Experts warn that there are a range of contributing factors to AMD, including lifestyle and environmental factors. It is believed that smoking greatly increases the risk of developing this condition, while healthy eating habits can lower these risks.
This research is currently being funded by NEI, or the National Eye Institute and expectations are high for effective treatments that will be made available to the public in coming years.