Danish researchers find cause of widespread eye disease – The Post

Danish researchers find cause of widespread eye disease

Blood tests suggest the age-related macular degeneration disease may be caused by changes in the immune system

AMD causes visual impairment in older adults and affects every third person in Denmark (photo: iStock)
October 22nd, 2015 6:15 pm| by Lucie Rychla

Researchers from Roskilde Hospital have found that the cause of a widespread eye disease, known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), may be found in the immune system.

AMD is a common eye condition and a major cause of vision loss and visual impairment among older adults.

In Denmark, the disease affects every third person.

Protein CD200
Roskilde researchers tested 250 patients and found those with advanced AMD had changed levels of the CD200 protein in their blood.

The protein is also related to ageing and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Over the long term, we expect that a blood test can reveal whether a patient with early calcification of the eye is at high risk of developing severe AMD,” Torben Lykke Sørensen, a clinical professor at Roskilde Hospital and the University of Copenhagen, told Dagbladet Roskilde.

“It can help people get the motivation to finally quit smoking and start to exercise.”

Treatment is costly
Currently, patients with severe AMD are treated with anti-angiogenic drugs that are injected into the eye and that can slow the progression of the disease.

Every year, the treatment of AMD costs the Danish state a quarter of a billion kroner.

Researchers from Roskilde Hospital have been granted 2.2 million kroner from the Velux Foundation.