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New study to give further insights into common eye diseases

Published: 8 February 2018
Eye study
New study to give further insights into common eye diseases

Vision scientists from the University of Southampton have been awarded £15,000 to research how proteins that cause Alzheimer’s Disease, which can be found in the eye, change with age and disease.

The study, jointly funded by Fight for Sight and Alzheimer’s Research UK, will screen for changes to Amyloid beta (Ab) proteins in vitreous samples (a clear gel-like substance that fills the space between the lens and the retina).

These samples will be collected from patients who have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and will be compared to those from healthy/age-matched individuals. Findings will be linked to other proteins that are known to be involved with AMD. This type of work is only possible because of the new retina-brain research programme established at the University Southampton, and its close links with ophthalmology clinics.

Dr Arjuna Ratnayaka, from the University of Southampton, who will lead the study, said: “The neuroretina and the brain have common origins and maintains a permanent link through the optic nerve, so it is unsurprising that diseases of the eye and brain have shared features. For example, people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can experience many different visual problems, which are poorly understood.

“There are lots of studies trying to identify disease indicators (or biomarkers) of early AMD. Ab changes in patient blood samples have already been linked with risk of developing advanced AMD. Our findings could provide further proof that alterations to retinal Ab levels may be used as an effective AMD biomarker so that high-risk individuals can be identified before symptoms of actual sight-loss develops.” 


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