Two leading causes of blindness are age and diabetes. Of course, many people are born blind or lose their sight early due to genetic reasons. However, out of those people who are reading this article and will get blind in the future, age and diabetes-related problems will be the ones to blame. Now scientists at the University of Queensland have demonstrated an improved treatment for those issues.
Age and diabetes-related vision problems are affecting approximately 450 million people worldwide. A lot of them will experience blindness, while others will see their vision deteriorate with time. As the population in the West is rapidly ageing, we will see a huge increase in age-related health problems, including impaired vision. There are treatments available, however, even though they are not terribly effective.
Currently, ocular neovascular diseases are treated by a method that suppresses a particular growth factor for vessels. For some people this treatment really helps preserve a lot of the vision. However, 40-60 % of the patients do not respond well to this treatment. This basically means that for around half of the patients of ocular neovascular diseases modern medicine has little to offer. Those, who do not respond well to this treatment, often exude fluids, have unresolved or new bleeding, thickening or scarring of tissue, or fail to recover functional vision. However, scientists have created a new drug delivery method, which might significantly improve outcomes for people with ocular neovascular diseases.
Scientists have tested their new treatment method with animal models and found that the volumes of lesions were reduced by 95%. At the moment such diseases are treated with injections directly into the eyeball, but the new drug delivery method might be in sight. Scientists demonstrated a more complex nano-drug which not only delivers an antibody, but simultaneously combats inflammation and identifies side effects. Professor Di Yu, one of the authors of the study, said: “The new design allows the nanodrug to concentrate on lesions and deliver lasting benefits.With the impressive results, further developments are now underway to translate it into a new therapy.” Scientists say that this new treatment could benefit huge numbers of people with age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
Novel treatment methods could hopefully combat blindness and improve eyesight to many. As our population is ageing, we need to find ways to live healthier and for longer. Good eyesight is very important for the quality of life and independence.
Source: University of Queensland