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Light therapy could lower risk of vision problems in premature babies

Light therapy could lower risk of vision problems in premature babies

Monday 15 April 2019

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre have found that light therapy could be used to lower the risk of vision problems in premature infants whose eyes are still developing.

A molecular process, called the Opsin 5-dopamine pathway, ensures the development of blood vessels in the eye is stable, preparing it for visual function. In premature babies who are medically fragile, the process can be thrown out of balance.

The researchers used genetically modified mice, who did not express Opsin 5. They realised that the mice showed increased levels of dopamine in the eye, resulting in a regression of blood vessels in the still developing eyes, which hampered normal eye development.

Although the findings from the current study require further investigation to be considered clinically relevant to humans, the data demonstrates that Opsin-5 is important in the development of eyes of baby mice, and potentially human babies.

Richard A. Lang, the senior author of the study, said: “Our study indicates opsin 5-dopamine pathway is probably part of a light-dependent disease process for conditions like myopia, which is now a worldwide epidemic.”

“It raises the interesting possibility that we might be able to use light exposure to treat conditions like retinopathy of prematurity after a premature infant is born or in people with myopia.”


1.Science Daily:
How light therapy might help premature babies avoid vision problems.

Light therapy could help prevent vision problems.


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