New drug improves macula function in experiments – promise for improved vision for people with macular damage
The macula region of the eye’s retina is responsible for the central, finely detailed, colour vision essential for most of our everyday tasks. As such its deterioration, which occurs in conditions such as diabetic macular oedema and wet age-related macular degeneration, causes particularly debilitating vision loss. In both of these conditions, blood vessels in the macula become prone to abnormal growth and leakiness – note the haze of the fluorescent test material oozing from the blood vessels in the right-hand mouse retina here. Both of these pathological aspects contribute to the blurring and obscuring of vision, yet current drugs only tackle the abnormal vessel growth. A newly developed experimental drug, by contrast, blocks both problems – as can be seen in the non-leaking vessels of the left-hand treated mouse retina. Further testing and clinical development of this drug should hopefully lead to a more comprehensive treatment option for saving macula function and therefore vision.
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