10 October 2008

Age-related macular degeneration: culprit #1 found

British scientists have discovered a gene whose mutation leads to partial or complete loss of vision. The study, the results of which were published in the scientific journal Lancet, states that this gene is responsible for the overwhelming number of causes of blindness.

According to Sarah Ennis and Andrew Loteri from the University of Southampton, at least six variants of the Serping 1 gene mutation have been found; most of them are associated with age-related macular degeneration. Scientists note that this discovery opens a new front in the fight against poor eyesight. For the first time, doctors have received proof that gene diagnostics can really affect human vision.

Age–related macular degeneration causes damage to the functions of macular cells - a small region in the center of the retina. As a rule, such a disease occurs with age. About 90% of patients diagnosed with macular degeneration have a so-called "dry" type of ailment. The remaining patients have "wet" degeneration, when capillaries expand between the back of the eye and the retina. Both forms of the disease in most cases lead to blindness and are currently incurable.

British doctors timed their research to coincide with World Vision Day, which is celebrated on October 10. Today there are about 37 million blind people worldwide. 124 million people have very poor eyesight. Three-quarters of all cases of blindness could be prevented or cured. If the situation is not reversed, the number of blind people will increase to 75 million by 2020.

World Vision Day has been held since 2000. It is the main promotional event within the framework of the global efforts to prevent blindness under the slogan "Vision 2020: The Right to vision".


Portal "Eternal Youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru10.10.2008

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