As a company focused on holistic eye health, with the help of the article “Warning signs of sight loss could be identified before vision deteriorates” by ScienceDaily, we are interested in taking a closer look at the research behind the title. According to the article, “A research team led by the University of Southampton with colleagues at King's College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital looked at the records of over 30,000 patients who had retinal scans and genetic data stored in the UK Biobank.” The main focus being the fact that the article mentions that there are 34 known genetic risk factors for age related macular degeneration (AMD) and that a comparison could be made between those with and without risk factors based on retinal measurements.
The results were published in Scientific Reports, and ScienceDaily notes that those with no history of AMD along with healthy eyes had thinner retinas if they had the risk-related genes. Those involved with the study shared their own comments, notably, study leader Andrew Lotery, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Southampton, Professor Pirro Hysi from King’s College London and Mr. Praveen Patel from Morrfields Eye Hospital. They said, “At the moment most treatments for AMD only start when patients already have severe problems with their eyesight so it is really important that we understand more about what causes it. These results help us understand the very early stages of the disease, before it is clinically apparent. If we can intervene at an earlier stage, we are more likely to be able to preserve sight.”
Why This Research is Important
According to ScienceDaily, previous research did not fully explain which cells within the eye are initially affected by AMD. It goes on to state that examination of the retinal scans showed that photoreceptors (sense light) were also thinner for those with the risk factors. The research team believes this allows them to better understand the early stages of AMD. It will also help to determine the cells that should be targeted during additional research.
Patients being able to have the knowledge to make lifestyle changes earlier is a benefit as well, and Lotery notes the following, “Changing to a Mediterranean style diet, exercising more and stopping smoking can help prevent he progression of the disease" in addition to “These findings can also help us refine participants in future clinical trials so we can include patients who are most at risk."
University of Southampton. (2021, December 9). Warning signs of sight loss could be identified before vision deteriorates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 28, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211209095603.htm
Materials provided to ScienceDaily by University of Southampton
Journal Reference: Rebecca A. Kaye, Karina Patasova, Praveen J. Patel, Pirro Hysi, Andrew J. Lotery, Praveen J. Patel, Pirro Hysi, Andrew J. Lotery. Macular thickness varies with age-related macular degeneration genetic risk variants in the UK Biobank cohort. Scientific Reports, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-02631-2