Research findings may expand field of gene-related vision testing

Researchers with the National Institutes of Health have uncovered a new genetic eye disease.

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Researchers with the National Institutes of Health have uncovered a new genetic eye disease.

Optometrist Dr. Sydney Madrigal with The Eye Center of Pembroke Pines said genetic and clinical research has revealed a new type of macular dystrophy, which is a cause of central vision loss.

“And we know that muscular dystrophy is caused by these changes or mutations in genes and so moving forward we’re trying to target those genes, trying to get our macular dystrophies, or at least find them, sooner,” she said.

Madrigal said the findings will help expand the field of genetic testing for vision related conditions.

She said that knowing the genetic markers of a particular eye disease creates the possibility for participation in early trials which have shown positive results in preventing vision loss.

And on the subject of vision, researchers are investigating a non-surgical option for treating cataracts, the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment world wide.

Scientists investigated a chemical compound called Oxysterol in mice and found that almost half saw improvement in vision.

Although the results are encouraging, experts said the study focused on only one cause of cataracts and is not enough to change the current standard of care, which is surgical removal.

And a recent systemic review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that cannabis products might help treat chronic pain in the short term but it’s not clear if these products are helpful in the long term.

Medical professionals said the potential pain-related benefit needs to be weighted against the possible drawbacks which include increased dizziness and sedation.

About the Author:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.