19.11.2009

Researchers shed light on causes of blindness

Researchers shed light on causes of blindness

By Adrian Galbreth

Yale School of Medicine researchers could have found the key to stopping eye disorders caused by a wide range of diseases, the November journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science reported.

Many forms of blindness are caused by the death of retinal cells known as photoreceptors. The research team set about trying to identify a mechanism in photoreceptors that could be used to prolong their survival.

The team studied different diseases using preserved animal and human retinal tissue and found that the same family of molecules was active in all the diseases which caused photoreceptor death.

If a protective mechanism for these cells is developed it could save people"s sight, according to the researchers.

Caroline Zeiss, a professor at Yale School of Medicine and part of the research team, said: "By finding a common way in which photoreceptors react to stress, it may be possible to develop new therapies to preserve vision."

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science is the official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

by Adrian Galbreth


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