Retinitis pigmentosa identified by simple blood or urine test

Rong Wen, M.D., Ph.D., and Byron Lam, M.D., professors of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer, in collaboration with biochemist Ziqiang Guan, Ph.D., a research associate professor at Duke University Medical School, discovered a key marker in blood and urine that can identify people who carry genetic mutations in a gene responsible for retinitis pigmentosa (RP). “A simple urine test can tell who has the RP-causing mutations,” said Dr. Wen. “Collecting urine is non-invasive and easy, especially from young children.”

The blood vessels of the retina can reveal stroke risk

In a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, researchers said retinal imaging may someday help assess if you’re more likely to develop a stroke.”The retina provides information on the status of blood vessels in the brain,”. Worldwide, high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. However, it’s still not possible to predict which high blood pressure patients are most likely to develop a stroke.Even in patients on medication and achieving good blood pressure control, the risk of a blood clot was 96 percent higher in those with mild hypertensive retinopathy and 198 percent higher in those with moderate or severe hypertensive retinopathy.

Telescope Implant Improves Vision In Macular Degeneration

Physicians at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center have become the first in Virginia to successfully implant a telescope in a patient’s eye to treat macular degeneration.

The telescope implant is designed to correct end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most advanced form of AMD and the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. Patients with end-stage AMD have a central blind spot. This vision loss makes it difficult or impossible to see faces, to read and to perform everyday activities such as watching television, preparing meals and self-care.

Possible Negative Side Effects Of VEGF Inhibition Therapy For Eye Disease

A new Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) article reveals that increasingly aggressive therapies that block VEGF could cause damage in treating eye diseases. Scientists discovered inhibiting anti-VEGF might have a harmful effect on the tissue responsible for producing the fluid that bathes the eye, medically termed the ciliary body. Several anti-VEGF-A therapies are currently being widely and successfully used for the treatment of eye diseases like wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinopathy of prematurity.
“I would be concerned that more aggressive VEGF inhibition in the eye would have deleterious effects on the ciliary body.”

Blind Mice Have Sight Restored

Completely blind mice had their sight restored after having developing cells transplanted into their eyes. The cells reformed the entire light-sensitive layer of the retina, rather like replacing the film in a camera. The researchers believe their cell transplantation therapy might be applied to treat blindness resulting from the progressive condition retinitis pigmentosa.

Artificial Retina Could Restore Sight To The Blind

Two researchers in the US have taken a huge step forward in developing technology to help blind people see: they have made an artificial retina that restored normal vision in blind mice. And they have already worked out a way to make a similar device for monkeys, which they hope to quickly redesign and test for human use.

Current prosthetics work by using electrodes that are implanted into the blind patient’s eye, to drive the surviving cells: they stimulate the ganglion cells with electrical current.

But this method only produces very rough visual fields: the cells are stimulated, but they aren’t receiving the right signals, a sort of neural equivalent of “white noise”.

Scientists are working on various ways to improve on this approach. For instance one way is to have more stimulators in the implant, in the hope that with more stimulation, the image will improve.