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.

How Specialty Care Can Help Patients with Multiple Vision Disorders

Retina Associates is a state-of-the-art vision treatment center staffed by a team of board-certified ophthalmologists: Cameron Javid, MD; April Harris, MD; Egbert Saavedra, MD; and Mark Walsh. MD. Based in Tucson, Arizona, the Retina Associates team works closely with surrounding health care providers to offer specialized care for common vision disorders.

It’s no secret that identifying an illness as early as possible is one of the most effective ways of optimizing treatment outcomes, but individual medical history and the sheer variety of illnesses that share symptoms means that an initial diagnosis is not always accurate. According to the CDC, some of the most common eye-related disorders are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), affecting estimated 1.8 million Americans; cataracts, affecting 20.5 million; and diabetic retinopathy, affecting 4.1 million. While having an eye-related disorder does not automatically result in further impairments, it is common for older individuals to have more than one vision-related condition. On top of that, different conditions can affect different areas of the eye; for example, cataracts affect the eye lens and can be removed surgically, but retinal holes or tears occur inside the eye and often require laser treatment. While not all vision disorders are treatable, knowing what individual conditions directly affect your vision and to what degree can open new treatment pathways.

To schedule a consultation or to receive a second opinion from Cameron Javid or another doctor at Retina Associates, visit

Types and Risks of Diabetic Retinopathy

At Retina Associates in Tucson, AZ, Cameron Javid, MD, and his colleagues treat a variety of primary and secondary eye conditions. Drs. Cameron Javid, April Harris, Egbert Saavedra and Mark Walsh, address macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy more than any other eye conditions. Retina Associates also has largest eye cancer program in the Southwest United States.

Diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetes-related ophthalmologic condition, poses serious risk to a patient’s vision. The condition attacks the thin tissue at the back of the eye known as the retina, which receives rays of light from the environment and sends related signals to the brain for interpretation. It includes the macula, which controls the central part of one’s vision, as well as the peripheral retina, which regulates peripheral vision. In patients with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels in the retina swell, leak, or abnormally grow where they do not belong.

In its earliest stages, known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), vessels leak small amounts fluid and blood into the eye. This may lead to blurred vision due to closing capillaries or macular edema, in which the macula, (central retina) swells and causes vision loss. However, many patients with NPDR experience no symptoms. By contrast, later-stage or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) affects both the macula and the peripheral retina and can cause retinal or vitreous hemorrhage, traction retinal detachment, or neovascular glaucoma, all of which can severely distort or damage vision. If there is significant blood leakage and/or scar tissue then PDR can cause permanent blindness.