Study uncovers potential cause of degenerative eye disease

21 January 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be related to tiny mineral deposits, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The team found that small lumps of a type of calcium phosphate called hydroxyapatite (HAP) seem to cause the disease. They studied a range of retinal samples from elderly participants, some of whom had AMD.

The AMD samples were all found to contain tiny spherical deposits of HAP, which had not been previously linked to the disease or found in the eye. It is common elsewhere in the body, as it forms the hard part of bones and teeth. The fatty protein deposits that cause AMD seem to develop around the HAP molecules.
Since AMD is currently the most common cause of blindness in the developed world, and is estimated to cost £224.31 million to treat per year, this discovery could pave the way for potential cures and treatments to be developed in the future.

Posted by ​Phillip Briggs 

 

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