New clues found to vision loss in macular degeneration​​​

Scientists have identified a pathway that leads to the formation of atypical blood vessels that can cause blindness in people with age-related macular degeneration. The research, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, sheds light on one of the leading causes of blindness in industrialized countries and offers potential targets for treating the disease.

Proteins critical to wound healing identified

Mice missing two important proteins of the vascular system develop normally and appear healthy in adulthood, as long as they are not injured in some way. If they are, their wounds don’t heal properly, a new study shows. The research has possible implications for treating diseases involving abnormal blood vessel growth, including in the skin and eye.

Rare gene variant linked to macular degeneration

Scientists at The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine helped lead an international team of researchers who have identified a genetic mutation linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 50. Shown is an eye with signs of macular degeneration.

Recycling in the eye promotes good vision

Researchers have found that seeing well as we age depends, at least in part, on a recycling process in the eye that mops up cellular debris and recycles light-sensitive proteins. The findings suggest that disruptions in that process may harm vision and play a key role in the development of eye diseases related to aging. Inside the retinal pigment epithelium cells pictured are structures used for recycling (green) that engulf and digest spent parts of photoreceptor cells (red).

Cholesterol buildup links atherosclerosis and macular degeneration

A new study raises the intriguing possibility that drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol may be effective against macular degeneration, a blinding eye disease. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that age-related macular degeneration shares a common link with atherosclerosis. Both problems have the same underlying defect: the inability to remove a buildup of fat and cholesterol.

Researchers find novel pathway that helps eyes quickly adapt to darkness

Scientists have long known that cells in the retina called photoreceptors are involved in how vision can adapt to darkness, but a study from investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Boston University School of Medicine has uncovered a new pathway in the retina that allows the cells to adapt following exposure to bright light. The discovery could help scientists better understand human diseases that affect the retina, including age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over the age of 50.

Proper UV protection for your eyes is important for summer

Photo courtesy of WUSTLIt’s very important to get sunglasses with UV protection and to wear them at an early age.We all know the importance of using sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but what about protection for our eyes? July is UV Safety Month and prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays without protection may cause eye conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are your best protection against UV-related vision problems, but be careful when you’re shopping for sunglasses — the wrong kind of lenses might do more harm than good.