If you have a parent or grandparent who has gradually lost their sight due to macular degeneration or glaucoma, you may be interested in this exciting new research. It holds great promise for you and anyone else at risk for these eye conditions.
Both glaucoma and macular degeneration are hereditary and both result in the death of certain cells in the retina.
Zebrafish, a popular freshwater aquarium fish also called zebra danio, may be the key to helping the body repair retina cells. According to recent research, zebrafish can regenerate new cells in their retinas. Scientists have been trying to understand the mechanism for this ability. They have discovered that when a zebrafish’s retina is damaged, a chemical is released that will cause certain cells in the retina known as Muller glia to revert to a stem-cell state and from that state they can generate new cells and repair the damage.
In a study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System, a research team has been investigating how that process works and whether the regenerative power of retina cells in zebrafish could be recreated in mammals.
While this holds much hope for the future, protect your sight right now, especially if you are over 55 or have a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, by scheduling an annual eye exam. Whatever the cause of the death of retinal cells, slowing the progression of vision loss as early as possible is important.
Many eye conditions can be treated and damage slowed if they are caught early on. Only your eye doctor will be able to help you with the treatments and medications that are available today.
Ophthalmologist Thomas Henderson, M.D. says, “It’s encouraging that new research makes important strides in treating retinal disease every day. If you have parents who have experienced eye disease, you realize how difficult losing your sight can be. Eye Clinic of Austin has some of the most modern diagnostic equipment available in Austin and protecting your vision now requires annual eye exams and follow-up testing.”