Millions of people suffer from vision loss diseases like macular degeneration and there are only a handful of treatments that can be used to slow down these vision loss diseases, but nothing will completely stop them from progressing. However, there may be a new kind of treatment for macular degeneration and other vision loss diseases in the near future thanks to molecular mapping.
How Molecular Mapping Will Help
Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a very detailed molecular map of the part of the eye called the choroid where most vision loss diseases originate. The choroid is what supplies the retina of the eyes with oxygen and blood, so this area of the eye is very crucial to vision.
Through the use of the map, researchers are able to see all of the more than 4,000 different proteins of the choroid, how they differ from each other, and how many of these proteins are located in each of the three parts of the choroid: the fovea, the periphery, and the macula. This will allow researchers to determine which of the proteins have the biggest roles in the development of eye diseases and vision loss.
Molecular mapping can now provide researchers with information on why particular areas of the choroid have a higher sensitivity to specific types of eye diseases than other areas. They’ll be able to see which proteins are located in which parts of the choroid, how many of them there are in each area, and why those particular proteins are located in those specific areas.
For instance, there is one type of protein called CFH that works to prevent the molecular activity that can cause age-related macular degeneration. Thanks to the development of the map, researchers were able to determine that there is more CFH located in the fovea than in the other regions of the choroid. They can now keep watch on CFH and how its numbers fluctuate in the fovea. If the number of CFH proteins in that area that decreases that could mean that there is a higher risk for age-related macular degeneration.
The most important aspect of molecular mapping has to do with the fact that researchers will be able to use the information they gather from it to develop new treatments that are targeted toward specific proteins and/or areas of the choroid to decrease the risk of vision loss diseases or even possibly prevent them altogether.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy Naturally
Although many vision loss diseases are associated with aging and genetics, there are still many things you can do to delay the onset of these diseases for as long as possible. Eating an eye healthy diet is one way to do this. Make sure you include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and meats that contain eye healthy nutrients such as leafy green vegetables for instance.
You can also take daily vitamin supplements that contain the vitamins and minerals that promote good eye health. Some of these vitamins and minerals include ginkgo biloba, lutein, vitamins A, C, and E, Zinc, just to name a few. The healthy foods you should eat should also include some of the same vitamins and minerals.
Making sure you get regular eye exams is also beneficial to keeping your eyes healthy and strong because if there are any vision problems that you are unaware of before the exam, you and your eye doctor will be able to come up with a plan to take care of whatever issues there are before they have a chance to progress further.
Vision loss diseases are not something to take lightly. Once your vision is gone, it’s gone, so preserving it for as long as you can is important for maintaining a fully functional lifestyle. There are only so many treatments for these diseases that will help to slow down the progression of the diseases or delay them temporarily, but there is no cure for vision loss. Maybe with the creation of the molecular mapping there will be a cure sometime in the future, if not for vision loss itself, then at least for the diseases that cause vision loss. Only time and research will tell.