Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of central retinal vision loss worldwide. Over 100,000 people in Ireland, over the age of 50, suffer with AMD. New cases of AMD are diagnosed at rate of 7,000 per year and it is the country’s leading cause of sight loss.
The retina at the back of the eye allows you to perceive light and to convert light into a form of energy that allows our brain to form images. Essentially, the retina can be considered as an accessible part of the brain. Similar to the brain, the retina requires a constant supply of oxygen enriched blood and has an intricate network of blood vessels. These blood vessels are easy to see when an eye doctor examines your eye. The study being proposed will allow us to determine how these blood vessels may differ in integrity at various times of the day and how this might relate to the development of the common form of blindness in the elderly, namely, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We hypothesize that discrete changes in these blood vessels with age, may pre-dispose some people to developing AMD during their lifetime. In understanding the basic mechanisms underlying this disease, we may be better able to develop new forms of therapy.
Dr. Alan Hopkins Dr. Alan Hopkins and Dr. Natalie Hudson presenting at ARVO 2019