NIH Research Links Gene to Macular Degeneration

At Retina Associates of Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Cameron Javid and his associates provide care to patients dealing with disorders pertaining to the vitreous and retina. According to Dr. Cameron Javid, the most common condition Retina Associates treats is macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and one of the main causes of vision loss in individuals age 50 and older, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). AMD leads to damage of the macula, which is a small spot adjacent to the retina’s center that allows people to see straight ahead. Along with genetic predisposition, risk factors of the condition include lifestyle choices like smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet.

In 2013, the NEI reported that three separate studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have established a link between AMD and specific genes that encode the complement system, a set of proteins that trigger immune responses and inflammation. Researchers found that employing drug that suppress the complement system, particularly the C3 gene, may help with late-stage AMD.