Eye Drops to Halt Age–Related Macular Degeneration

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reversing Blindness

Researchers from the University of Washington have developed eye drops that can treat age–related macular degeneration (AMD), a primary reason for blindness in many elderly and middle–aged people. The condition is said to be hastened by ageing, smoking, genetics and growth of harmful blood fat deposits.

Researchers found that the harmful blood fats are responsible for the hardening of arteries and that the drugs used to lower the fats in the arteries could possibly help in reducing the effects of AMD. The research aims at making immune cells known as macrophages more effective as macrophages have the ability to remove cholesterol and fats from the retinal tissues. However, these macrophages grow weaker with age. The weakening of these cells is due to the absence of a protein called ABCA1, which transports cholesterol out of the cells.

Scientists during an experiment found out that an eye drop containing a drug named LXR agonist reversed macular degeneration in a rodent’s eye. They are confident that more research in this aspect would lead to eye drops that could reverse blindness caused by AMD. Currently, people suffering from atherosclerosis are prescribed medications that keep the arteries clear by controlling the level of cholesterol. Researchers say that if they are able to modify these drugs then it could be used to solve AMD.

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