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Using light to restore sight: a potential new therapy for AMD

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Millions of people throughout the world are afflicted with hereditary blindness. Now scientists from the University of Bern in Switzerland have discovered a way of restoring sight by introducing a new light-sensing protein to the retina, and “activating” normally dormant light-sensing cells on a permanent basis.

Researchers claim that the therapy can potentially restore sight in patients with any form of photoreceptor degeneration, including severe forms of age-related macular degeneration which it is estimated affects 10% of people over the age of 65.

The new protein devised by the team - Opto-mGluR6 – is not susceptible to light bleaching. In other words, its reactivity to light does not diminish over time. In addition, the protein is likely to be invisible to the patient’s immune system, reducing the potential for adverse reactions. Researcher Dr Sonja Kleinlogel writes: “The major improvement of the new approach is that patients will be able to see under normal daylight conditions without the need for light intensifiers or image converter goggles".

Sources:

  1. EurekAlert:
    Light in sight: a step towards a potential therapy for acquired blindness.
  2. Natural Eye Care:
    Optogenetics Reverse the Decay of Retina Cells to Restore Sight.

Labels:

Macular degeneration, Light therapy

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