With September being Healthy Aging Month, it is interesting to note that research continues to look and find causes of different causes of vision loss and blindness. A new study has shown how changes in a particular gene can lead to blindness in middle age. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have discovered how changes in a gene known as RPGR damages eye cells to cause a disorder known as X-linked retinitis pigmentosa. The condition is incurable and affects night and peripheral vision before gradually causing blindness in middle age.
Although there is no current treatment for this disease or the more common Retinitis Pigmentosa, some research shows that taking certain vitamins, including vitamin A palmitate, may help some people with retinitis pigmentosa. As Retinitis Pigmentosa is passed down genetically, anyone with Retinitis Pigmentosa and planning to have children may want to speak with a genetic counselor to learn about their chance of passing this eye condition on to their children.
Hopefully more discoveries through research such as the latest gene discovery will lead to treatment of these and other eye conditions. If you or someone you love is losing vision due to an eye disease, please visit your Ophthalmologist and www.slsbvi.org.
Dave Ekin, President