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Treatment Needed To Beat Blindness Essay

759 words - 4 pages

Treatment needed to beat Blindness
There are many forms of blindness, some are neurologic and others are physiologic. Some conditions start to develop at a young age, and others are not aware of the effects until later on in life. [27]
One of the most recurrent forms of blindness is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition mainly affects older adults above the age of fifty years. There are two types of AMD: ‘wet’ AMD and ‘dry’ AMD. [3]
‘Wet’ AMD is the least common but unfortunately the most critical. It is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the choroid. The choroid is a layer behind the retina consisting of connective tissue. Moreover, it also contains blood vessels that transport essential nutrients and oxygen to the retina. ‘Choroidal neovascularisation’ is the correct term to describe the growth of these tiny blood vessels. [1] The vessels pass through a barrier joining the retina and the choroid called the Bruch’s membrane. Here they leak blood and protein, this damages the macula (diagram to the right) and the rods and cones that at consisted within it. Treatments have been developed such as anti-VEGFs medicine, photodynamic therapy, and laser photocoagulation. [4]
The photoreceptor cones provide colour vision and sensitivity; these photoreceptors also help us to see in the daylight. Rods work when light is minimal; they are responsible for night vision and therefore help us see when it is dark.
‘Dry’ AMD is when the retinal epithelium layer in the eye thins and eventually degenerates. The retinal epithelium layer nourishes the photoreceptors (rods and cones), Dry AMD causes the photoreceptors to degenerate and die, therefore visual loss occurs. There is no cure at the moment for Dry AMD. However, people with this condition have been given antioxidants to reduce the progress of AMD.
In contrast, there is a genetic eye condition called Stargardt’s macular dystrophy. Its effects become evident at late childhood. The macula in the retina which is responsible for central vision becomes damaged by the accumulation of lipofuscin. [5] The mutations of the ABCA4 gene which stimulates the production of proteins for photoreceptors, prevents these proteins from transporting toxic products away from the eye. Therefore the accumulation of these toxic products creates lipofuscin and...

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