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Fighting Blindness with Science: Innovative approaches to vision loss research

May 10, 2019  · 2 min read

May is #VisionHealthMonth in Canada, and the IFA recognizes the importance of vision health for Canadians of every age, especially older adults.

For Dr. Michele Corcio, IFA expert and vice president of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Italy, breakthroughs in vision loss research are of uttermost importance. For the IAPB, as the name suggests, prevention is key. The IAPB hopes to dispel the perpetuated myth that ‘vision loss as people age is unavoidable’ by showcasing the importance of screening and detection of the most common causes of vision loss such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and cataracts.

Although preventative measures are key to avoiding vision loss, hope is not lost for those living with reduced or complete loss of vision, as emerging research has made tremendous progress for those already affected.  Researchers at the University of Surrey and Indiana University have been studying the effects of using plant-based interventions to aid in the treatment of disorders that lead to vision loss, such as diabetic retinopathy.

The UK-based research group ‘ReNeuron’, who are exploring the use of stem cell treatment for vision loss have already made significant progress:

“In February (2019), the company reported that all three of the first cohort of subjects in the study had reported a rapid and significant improvement in vision, on average equivalent to reading an additional three lines of five letters on the EDTRS eye chart, the standardized eye chart used in clinical trials to measure visual acuity.” - ReNeuron, 4 April 2019 Press Release 

Vision is reported to be the sensory function most feared to be lost by Canadians. It is hoped that as new research continues to emerge, and the importance of preventative measures are put into action, vision loss becomes less of a reality and fear for Canadians and individuals around the world.

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