A team of scientists from the UK and Netherlands have made a discovery that could provide new hope for the diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
In their research, the scientists found significantly higher levels of the protein FHR-4 in the blood of AMD patients. This protein was located within the macula, the area of the eye affected by the disease.
AMD It is the leading cause of blindness in Australia and New Zealand. According to Macular Degeneration New Zealand, 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 will be affected by the disease.
Scientists say the research provides compelling opportunities to understand how AMD is caused and possibly cure the disease.
“Apart from improving understanding of how AMD is caused, this work also provides a way of predicting risk of the disease…and a new route to treatment,” says Professor Paul Bishop, an ophthalmologist and AMD expert.
Currently, there are no cures for AMD. Experts say early detection is the best opportunity to minimise risk of the disease. “The earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you are to have a better visual outcome compared to those who wait,” says MDNZ.
Common symptoms of age-related macular degeneration include:
- Difficulty with reading or any other activity that requires fine vision
- Distortion, where straight lines appear wavy or bent
- Distinguishing faces becomes a problem
- Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye care specialist.